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The Science of Adolescent Risk-Taking: Workshop Report
interventions designed to discourage youth from taking risks. At the same time, adolescents process decisions related to risk quite differently from the way adults do. That is, not only are they attuned to different goals than adults, but they also think differently, transitioning between verbatim-based analyses of risk-reward trade-offs to gist-based intuitions about the essential bottom line of risky decisions. Experience, context, and culture shape the gist representations and the retrieval of values that are central to healthy decision making. Although the thinning of gray matter and the pruning of synapses discussed in Chapter 3 might seem to reduce processing power, theoretical mechanisms emphasizing streamlined gist-based processing suggest that pruning might be important in developing the capacity to make sound decisions.