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    The role of sibling aggression during childhood in decision-making during adulthood

    Bedwell, Stacey, Harrison, Natalie, Fradley, Sara and Brooks, Matthew ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5469-7769 (2024) The role of sibling aggression during childhood in decision-making during adulthood. Current Psychology, 43 (3). pp. 2264-2276. ISSN 1046-1310

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    Abstract

    Research shows sibling relationships can influence cognitive development, specifically in terms of high-order processes involved in social functioning. These high-order processes take place in the human prefrontal cortex. While prefrontal connectivity can be influenced by factors experienced during developmental phases, it remains unclear how experiences of aggression towards a sibling in childhood can contribute to high-order processes in adulthood, specifically decision-making. Through two studies, we sought to establish a relationship between sibling aggression and decision-making styles reported in adulthood, as well as real-time risky decision-making. Study 1 examined the relationship between childhood experiences of sibling aggression and high-order function, specifically decision-making. Self-reports from 142 adult participants revealed that using sibling aggression to maintain dominance (ESAS; Harrison, 2017) was linked to avoidant and spontaneous decision-making (GDMS; Scott & Bruce, 1995). The findings reported here indicate a possible role of sibling aggression in the development of avoidant and spontaneous decision-making styles. Study 2 investigated the relationship between childhood sibling aggression (ESAS; Harrison, 2017) and performance in risky decision-making tasks (IOWA gambling task; Bechara et al., 2000) among 75 adult participants. It revealed that experiences of sibling aggression did not predict risky decision-making. These findings indicate that the types of decisions made may be influenced by childhood sibling aggression, but not the level of risk involved in decisions made.

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