Go fast! Reaction time differences between adults and adolescents in evaluating risky traffic situations

H. Feenstra, R.A.C. Ruiter, G. Kok

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Abstract

This study investigated the hypothesis that adults are faster than adolescents in responding to risks. Twenty-six adolescents (M-age = 15 years) and 26 adults (Mage = 47 years) responded to risky situations (e.g. 'Is it a good idea to drive a car while having drunk alcohol?') and non-risky situations (e.g. '... wear a helmet while riding a moped?') in a choice reaction time task. Adults responded 110ms faster to both risky and non-risky questions than adolescents. Both adolescents and adults responded on average 100ms faster to risky questions than to non-risky questions. The results of this study suggest a possible explanation for the increased accident involvement of adolescents in traffic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-349
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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