A developmental perspective on option generation and selection.

Little is known about how children generate options for taking action in familiar situations or how they select which action option to actually perform. In this article, we explore the interplay between option generation and selection from a developmental perspective using sports as a testbed. In a longitudinal design with four measurement waves, we asked 6- to 13-year-old children (N = 73) to generate and select action options in a soccer-related task. Children generated and selected options in accordance with the predictions of the take-the-first heuristic, which served as a theoretical starting point: They generated only a few options in decreasing order of validity (i.e., better options were generated earlier) and selected the first options they had generated. Older children selected the first option generated more often than younger children and generated options faster. Longitudinal effects revealed that both age groups generated fewer options and faster across waves. Time limitation fostered fewer and higher quality options being generated and selected. Overall, our results highlight the importance of considering the predecisional process of option generation to deepen our understanding of developmental changes in decision-strategy use. Future research directions and implications for children’s real-life decision making are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)