Published On: 26/10/2010|Categories: 2008–2012, Vol.31 (2010), Vol.31 (3)|

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Studies using an Information Integration approach have shown that children from four years have a good intuitive understanding of probability and expected value. Experience of skill-related uncertainty may provide one naturalistic opportunity to develop this intuitive understanding. To test the viability of this view, 16 5- and 16 7-year-olds played a marble rolling game in which size of the target and distance from it varied factorially. Task difficulty judgements (prior to practical experience with the game) reflected both objective task structure and subsequent performance for both age groups. Children then judged how happy they would be playing games of variable difficulty for different prizes. These judgements had the multiplicative structure predicted by the normative expected value model, again for both age groups. Thus children can use task difficulties as estimates of personal success probability in skill-related tasks. Our findings therefore extend previous work on early probability understanding from games of chance to games of skill.

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