Children with weak memories are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, research shows.
Children with weak memories are more likely to engage in risky behaviors like gambling, using alcohol and drugs and fighting, new research shows.
Daniel Romer of the University of Pennsylvania led the study that followed a group of 387 boys and girls, ages 10-12, in the Philadelphia area.
The implications of the findings, which Romer says are unprecedented, are that kids might be unwilling or even unable to think through the potential consequences of impulsive behavior.
"The kids who are impulsive, they might actually have the working memory, they just don't use it as much," Romer told Discovery News.
If the findings are accurate, Romer says that children who might potentially engage in risky behavior in the future could be identified and steered into a healthier adulthood before they even start their decline.
The children were tested using a series of established tests that examine impulsive behavior. They also took a separate series of tests designed to evaluate working memory, including solving problems that usually revolve around a long-term goal, like planning a weekly study.