Decision-making Competence in Older Adults

A Rosy View from a Longitudinal Investigation

Published in: Psychology and Aging (2020). doi: 10.1037/pag0000443

Posted on RAND.org on May 12, 2020

by Fabio del Missier, Patrik Hansson, Andrew M. Parker, Wandi Bruine de Bruin, Timo Mäntylä

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Cross-sectional studies have suggested age-related differences in decision-making competence, but these differences may also reflect cohort-related effects. We present a longitudinal study of age-related changes over 5 years in older adults (aged 60–85) for 3 important aspects of decision-making competence: resistance to framing, applying decision rules, and resistance to sunk costs. The findings show small age-related longitudinal declines in resistance to framing but no decline in applying decision rules or resistance to sunk costs. The results also indicate that individuals' decision-making competence after 5 years is significantly related to their initial decision-making competence assessment and that the contribution of crystallized abilities to decision making in older adults is greater than previously thought.

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