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Age and Adaptation: Stronger Decision Updating about Real World Risks in Older Age

Rolison, JJ and Wood, S and Hanoch, Y (2017) 'Age and Adaptation: Stronger Decision Updating about Real World Risks in Older Age.' Risk Analysis, 37 (9). 1632 - 1643. ISSN 0272-4332

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In later life, people are faced with a multitude of risky decisions that concern their health, finance, and personal security. Older adults often exercise caution in situations that involve risk. In this research, we asked whether older adults are also more responsive to warnings about potential risk. An answer to this question could reveal a factor underlying increased cautiousness in older age. In Study 1, participants decided whether they would engage in risky activities (e.g., using an ATM machine in the street) in four realistic scenarios about which participants could be expected to have relevant knowledge or experience. They then made posterior decisions after listening to audio extracts of real reports relevant to each activity. In Study 2, we explored the role that emotions play in decision updating. As in Study 1, participants made prior and posterior decisions, with the exception that for each scenario the reports were presented in their original audio format (high emotive) or in a written transcript format (low emotive). Following each posterior decision, participants indicated their emotional valence and arousal responses to the reports. In both studies, older adults engaged in fewer risky activities than younger adults, indicative of increased cautiousness in older age, and exhibited stronger decision updating in response to the reports. Older adults also showed stronger emotional responses to the reports, even though emotional responses did not differ for audio and written transcript formats. Finally, age differences in emotional responses to the reports accounted for age differences in decision updating.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Jonathan Rolison
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2016 14:47
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2021 10:16

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