Seniors often make worse decisions

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Seniors are quickly overwhelmed when making decisions with risk

Seniors are overwhelmed with risk decisions faster than younger people. This was the result of an investigation by US scientists from the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. Accordingly, not only the skills in processing information decrease with age, but also the ability to make decisions.

Seniors play it safe instead of taking a risk As part of their study, neurobiologist Ifat Levy and her colleagues examined the willingness to take risks and the decision-making ability of 135 subjects between the ages of 12 and 90. In total, the study participants had to make 320 decisions about profit or loss, the researchers report in the "Proceedings" of the US National Academy of Sciences ("PNAS"). They had a choice of a $ 5 guaranteed win, a lottery that could have made a higher $ 8 win, and a rivet. As part of the loss test series, subjects had to decide whether to lose five dollars or even lose more or nothing. In this context, the scientists were also able to check the consistency of the decisions by drawing conclusions from the repetitions.

Overall, the over 65 year olds chose the guaranteed profit more often than the 30 to 50 year olds. However, the seniors showed opposite behavior in the loss tests. In comparison to the other age groups, they lost an average of around 40 percent more of their gaming stakes.

“We found that healthy seniors between the ages of 65 and 90 were strikingly contradictory in their decisions compared to younger subjects. Just as there is a clear decrease in cognitive function in older people, they also show a profound decrease in the ability to make rational choices compared to younger participants, ”the researchers write. Accordingly, age could be accompanied by increasing inconsistency in decision-making and a deterioration in decision-making ability.

"We found that risk-taking across life spans an inverted U-function, both seniors and adolescents are less risk takers than middle-aged participants," the study said. (ag)

Image: Rainer Sturm /

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