The girls also show better judgment at taking risks than boys making them more successful at a card game that requires the skills adult finance experts use. Girls also experience greater swings between over-confidence and lack of confidence, the study shows. It also suggests over-confidence is “widespread during early childhood”. Researcher Dr Dominik Piehlmaier of Sussex University Business School, said: “Much of our knowledge on judgment and decision-making is based on adult participants.
“My findings indicate that interventions that increase an individual’s knowledge about their own knowledge might be needed to target much younger individuals.”
The researchers gave four to six-year-olds a Children’s Gambling Task, where they pick a card and turn it over to reveal how many stickers they have won or lost.
Dr Piehlmaier said: “They played more than 60 turns and saw their payoff balance rise and fall, yet every third child still thought they could do better than they had done in the previous 50 turns.”
Girls’ strategy outperformed boys by an average of 2.87 stickers. By the end, they were more over-confident than boys. Dr Piehlmaier added: “We found girls overestimate their abilities if they have a winning streak and underestimate when they lose a few times.”