Een kind weet dat het fout is om het laatste koekje te nemen, maar hij kan het niet laten… Wat is er aan de hand. Nieuw onderzoek dat net gepubliceerd werd in Neuron stelt dat dit waarschijnlijk is omdat het brein van kinderen hier nog niet kunnen sturen. Opvallend: kinderen weten wel degelijk wat goed of fout is, maar hebben moeite er naar de handelen.
Uit een interview voor ScienceDaily:
“We were interested in whether children would share more fairly if their counterparts could reject their offers, and to what extent strategic behavior was dependent on age and brain development,” explains lead study author, Dr. Nikolaus Steinbeis. “We observed an age-related increase in strategic decision making between ages 6 to 13 years and showed that changes in bargaining behavior were best accounted for by age-related differences in impulse-control abilities and underlying functional activity of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a late-maturing brain region linked with self control,” explains Dr. Steinbeis.
Abstract van het onderzoek:
Human social exchange is often characterized by conflicts of interest requiring strategic behavior for their resolution. To investigate the development of the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying strategic behavior, we studied children’s decisions while they played two types of economic exchange games with differing demands of strategic behavior. We show an increase of strategic behavior with age, which could not be explained by age-related changes in social preferences but instead by developmental differences in impulsivity and associated brain functions of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Furthermore, observed differences in cortical thickness of lDLPFC were predictive of differences in impulsivity and strategic behavior irrespective of age. We conclude that egoistic behavior in younger children is not caused by a lack of understanding right or wrong, but by the inability to implement behavioral control when tempted to act selfishly; a function relying on brain regions maturing only late in ontogeny.