Children are notoriously fearless; running across slippery grass, eating bugs, and climbing to the top of trees while their anxious parents look on in fear. Research on risk-taking behavior in older children and adults suggests that as people get older, we tend to avoid risks more. But not much is known about risk-taking in preschoolers. It has been shown that both adults from lower SES background and adults with ADHD tend to make riskier decisions than other adults. Why is that? Does it arise in adulthood, or do children in similar circumstances also take more risks? How stable are individual differences in risk propensity throughout the preschool years? And what factors contribute to these individual differences?
My research aims to chart the development of risk-taking and decision-making during the preschool years, while taking special note of individual differences. To do this, I implement a combination of behavioral and computational methods.
Sumner, E., DeAngelis, E., Hyatt, M., Goodman, N., & Kidd, C. (2015) Toddlers Always Get the Last Word: Recency biases in early verbal behavior. Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. [PDF]
Sumner, E., Stokes, R., Mistry, PK., Jaeggi, S., & Sarnecka, BW. A freshly baked perspective on how we measure risk propensity. [In Prep, email for preprint]
Sumner, E., DeAngelis, E., Hyatt, M., Goodman, N., & Kidd, C. Toddlers Always Get the Last Word: Recency drives children's question answering. [Under review, email for preprint]
Sumner, E., Lomeli, A., Lee, M., & Sarnecka, BW. Too risky for you, but not for me: individual differences in preschooler's decision-making strategies [in prep]
Sumner, E., Harder, E., & Jaeggi, S. Delay Discounting: A measure of risk propensity or working memory? [in prep]
Here I will post resources for my Psych 7A Discussion Students
I grew up outside of Boston, MA. I completed my undergraduate education in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester. I am a strong supporter of open science. Other than science, I enjoy long distance running, baking, and folk music.