Older adults make better decisions

Sept. 21, 2011 at 8:24 PM   |   Comments

AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Some think getting older results poor decision-making but U.S. psychologists say older adults are adept at making good choices that lead to long-term gain.

Todd Maddox of the University of Texas at Austin and Darrell Worthy of Texas A&M University and colleagues found 60-year-old adults were better at strategizing decisions than those in their late teens and early 20s, who tend to focus on instant gratification.

As part of the study, 28 older adults and 28 younger counterparts performed decision-making tasks, in which they only needed to consider immediate rewards to earn points. In this experiment, the younger adults were more efficient at selecting the options that yielded the best short-term rewards, the researchers said.

However, in a second experiment, the older participants outperformed the younger group in choosing options that resulted in long-term gains, such as strategically storing the most amount of oxygen in "oxygen accumulators" on an imaginary space mission in Mars.

The results, published in the journal Psychological Science, contradicted negative stereotypes of age and reasoning ability.

"Broadly, these results suggest that younger adults may behave more impulsively, favoring immediate gains, while older adults are better at considering the long-term ramifications of their actions," Maddox said in a statement.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
Daughters more likely than sons to care for elder parents
India asks Pepsi to cut down on sugar in its soft drinks
Child vaccination rates are high, CDC says
Yoga guru BKS Iyengar dies at 95
NIH to test safety of Ebola vaccine candidate
Trending News