Whether it is a high speed race or taking part in high risk sports, teenagers are always ready for it. This is why it may come as a surprise to most people that a study recently found that teenagers don’t actually like taking risks. So how is it that a group of people who are constantly engaging in activities that are reckless and dangerous to themselves and others don’t actually like taking risks?

The study between teenagers and adults

33 teenagers of ages ranging between 12 and 17 and 32 adults in the age range of 30 to 50 were used in the experiment. The participants were required to make several financial decisions in sequence, and each of these decisions had a certain degree of risk associated with it. The decision was to choose between getting $5 on the spot or taking part in a lottery where there was a potential to get anything from nothing to amounts much higher than $5. In the high risk lottery, the participants were told exactly what their chances were while in the other lottery, the probabilities were kept vague or ambiguous.

The results of the study

As it turns out, there were fewer teenagers opting for the high risk lotteries as compared to the adults which meant that the teenagers kept well away from risk when they fully understood the risks. This however wasn’t the end of the findings. It was also seen that the teens were much more likely to participate in the lottery that was seen as ambiguous as compared to the adults. There the teens were opting for a higher financial gain but only when they lacked information on the risk that was involved.

So what does this all mean? Simply put, teenagers are likely to put themselves in risky situations but only when they don’t fully understand the risks that are involved. In the words of the study’s co-author Agnieszka Tymula, the teenagers don’t seek risk but are simply more tolerant of ambiguous situations than adults which mean that teenagers were getting themselves into dangerous situations not because they loved the risk involved, but because they didn’t have enough information on what the odds were. The findings of this study offered an excellent insight on the behavior of teenagers.

These findings are a good thing because it means that the solution to all the dangerous and risky activities that teenagers are putting themselves in is simply education according to Tymula. This means that in order to reduce the odds of teenagers making bad decisions, more effort should be put into creating environments where the kids will be more likely to learn the risks. A simulator for drinking and driving that would enable the kids to know what it feels like to drive when drunk was one of these suggested solutions. These learning environments would enable the kids to feel these risks firsthand according to Tymula.