Date of Award


First Advisor

Anne O'Dwyer

Second Advisor

Brady McCartney


Psychological theory and research, most recently in the area of neuropsychology, has contributed significantly to our understanding of decision making. Adolescent decision making has received considerable attention, as well, although the focus has most-often been on adolescents' decisions around risk-taking and social-peer related behaviors. Adolescents' decisions making experiences-especially those that occur in educational contexts-has yet to be a topic of significant attention or research. This lack of attention is despite the general consensus that adolescence is a period of remarkable developmental changes that affect higher order cognition capacities and skills. With this in mind, this thesis aims to identify the neurological and cognitive aspects of decision making, to apply these frameworks to decisions in the educational realm, and to draw on both these analyses construct new approaches to cognitive skill and performance interventions in adolescents, as well as in conceiving alternative schemas for strategies associated with adolescents' educational decisions-such as the decision to start college early-as well as educational legislative prioritizing the developmental needs of adolescents in school settings.

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