Eliminating Risk Biases in Elderly Decision-Making
Millar, Peter R.
- Research in the decision-making behaviors of older adult indicates a heightened preference for decision aids and heuristics in making choices. This preference may be a result of cognitive decline, motivational shifts, or enhanced valence salience in old age. Two experiments used modified versions of the Tversky and Kahneman (1981) framing-effect paradigm to compare both older and younger participa... read morents' reliance on gain/loss framing as a potential heuristic. Experiment 1 included alternating secondary tasks that were either calculation-based or memory-based. These tasks were intended to prime motivational states, respectively, toward goals of mathematical analysis, which would enhance awareness of misleading frames, or verbal memory, which would provide no advantage in making a framed choice. Experiment 2 included instructional manipulations to complete the task using either critical reasoning or intuition. Analysis of the data revealed that manipulations that primed analytical processing (i.e. the probabilistic task in Experiment 1 and reasoning instructions in Experiment 2) reduced the effect of risk framing in older adults, but demonstrated no change in effect in younger adults. These findings suggest that older adults may be able to overcome reliance on decision aids under conditions that reinforce advantageous motivation states.read less