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When facing situations that involve risk and reward, some may focus on the opportunity for reward, whereas others may focus on potential risks. Here, we used an original set of pictorial scenarios to try and predict 3- to 8-year-olds' reward-seeking and risk-avoiding behavior in three decision-making scenarios (N = 99; Mage = 5.6; 47% girls). We found that children's reward-risk tendencies did not predict sharing behavior in a dictator-game 'sharing' task. However, they predicted children's monopolizing behavior in a dictator-game 'taking' task and their preferences between taking home a 'risky' or a 'safe' reward in a novel prize-preference task. Overall, using a set of original pictorial scenarios to assess individual differences early on in development now provides initial evidence that bridges individual differences and decision-making domains and exposes behavioral patterns that were thus far hidden.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Female, Humans, Child, Child, Preschool, Male, Awards and Prizes, Individuality, Reward, Risk-Taking