Developmental Theories

Developmental theories concern changes that occur over the lifespan as a result of maturation and experience. The nature of decision making shifts as children become adolescents and, as more recent research shows, as adolescents become adults and adults age. Two major theories of decision making are discussed that are also theories of development: the prototype/willingness model and fuzzy-trace theory. When discussing decision making in a medical context, it is important to keep in mind the key concepts of risk perception and informed consent (including issues of autonomy). How these theories address each of these issues and their implications for development and rationality are discussed.

In discussing what rationality in decision making is, it important to note two approaches offered as criteria: coherence and correspondence. The coherence ...

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