Aging and Decision Making

Aging and Decision Making

Empirical and Applied Perspectives

1st Edition - February 17, 2015

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  • Editors: Thomas Hess, JoNell Strough, Corinna Löckenhoff
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124171558
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780124171480

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Decisions large and small play a fundamental role in shaping life course trajectories of health and well-being: decisions draw upon an individual's capacity for self-regulation and self-control, their ability to keep long-term goals in mind, and their willingness to place appropriate value on their future well-being.  Aging and Decision Making addresses the specific cognitive and affective processes that account for age-related changes in decision making, targeting interventions to compensate for vulnerabilities and leverage strengths in the aging individual.   This book focuses on four dominant approaches that characterize the current state of decision-making science and aging - neuroscience, behavioral mechanisms, competence models, and applied perspectives.  Underscoring that choice is a ubiquitous component of everyday functioning, Aging and Decision Making examines the implications of how we invest our limited social, temporal, psychological, financial, and physical resources, and lays essential groundwork for the design of decision supportive interventions for adaptive aging that take into account individual capacities and context variables.

Key Features

  • Divided into four dominant approaches that characterize the current state of decision-making science and aging neuroscience
  • Explores the impact of aging on the linkages between cortical structures/functions and the behavioral indices of decision-making
  • Examines the themes associated with behavioral approaches that attempt integrations of methods, models, and theories of general decision-making with those derived from the study of aging
  • Details the changes in underlying competencies in later life and the two prevailing themes that have emerged—one, the general individual differences perspective, and two, a more clinical focus


Researchers and students in the behavioral and social sciences—including psychology, human development, gerontology, decision science, and behavioral and cognitive neuroscience. Second audience includes practitioners working with older adults in clinical, service, and applied settings involving concrete life decisions.

Table of Contents

    • Foreword
    • Preface
    • Chapter 1. The Present, Past, and Future of Research on Aging and Decision Making
      • Basic Issues in the Study of Aging and Decisions
      • Book Overview
      • Conclusion
    • Section 1. Neurobiological Mechanisms
      • Chapter 2. Modeling Cost–Benefit Decision Making in Aged Rodents
        • Introduction
        • Individual Differences and Cognitive Aging
        • Cross-Species Comparisons of Neural Circuitry Relevant For Decision Making
        • Cross-Species Considerations of Reinforcers
        • Intertemporal Decision Making
        • Probabilistic (Risky) Decision Making
        • The Role of Age-Related Memory Impairment in Decision Making
        • Conclusion
      • Chapter 3. Decision Neuroscience and Aging
        • Overview of Frontostriatal Neural Circuitry
        • Gains and Losses
        • Intertemporal Decision making
        • Risky Decision making
        • Learning
        • Conclusions
      • Chapter 4. Towards a Mechanistic Understanding of Age-Related Changes in Learning and Decision Making: A Neuro-Computational Approach
        • Age-Related Decline in the Dopamine System
        • Age Differences in Learning from Experience
        • Conclusions
      • Chapter 5. Age-Associated Executive Dysfunction, the Prefrontal Cortex, and Complex Decision Making
        • Guiding Observations, Theoretical Frameworks, and Key Empirical Tests
        • Research on Aging
        • Conclusions and Implications
    • Section 2. Behavioral Mechanisms
      • Chapter 6. Adaptive Decision Making and Aging
        • An Ecological Perspective on Life-span Changes in Strategy Use
        • Cognitive Aging: The Role of Cognitive Control and Reward Processing
        • Aging and Strategy Use
        • Aging and Strategy Use in DECISION MAKING
        • Implications of Age Differences in Strategy Selection and Execution
        • Summary and Conclusion
      • Chapter 7. Aging, Memory, and Decision Making
        • Introduction
        • Age-Related Changes in Memory Functioning and Their Influence on Judgment and Decision Making
        • Aging, Memory, and Decision Making: Where Do We Go From Here?
      • Chapter 8. Complementary Contributions of Fluid and Crystallized Intelligence to Decision Making Across the Life Span
        • Better or Worse Off?
        • Cognitive Capabilities and Decision Making Across the Adult Life span
        • Complementary Cognitive Capabilities
        • Practical Decision Making And the Role of Domain-Specific Experience
        • Implications for Public Policy and Effective Decision Environments
        • Summary
      • Chapter 9. Aging, Emotion, and Decision Making
        • Age-Related Changes in Cognition, Emotion, and Motivation
        • Theoretical Perspectives on the Role of Affect in Judgment and Decision Making
        • Decision Making Across the Adult Life span
        • Conclusions and Future Research Directions
      • Chapter 10. A Prospect Theory-Based Evaluation of Dual-Process Influences on Aging and Decision Making: Support for a Contextual Perspective
        • Dual-Process Perspectives on Decision Making
        • Dual-Process Influences and Prospect Theory
        • Conclusions
      • Chapter 11. Age Differences in Time Perception and Their Implications for Decision Making Across the Life Span
        • Age Differences in Global Time Horizons and Mental Representations of Time
        • Mechanisms
        • Implications for Decision Making
        • Future Directions and Practical Implications
      • Chapter 12. Understanding Life-Span Developmental Changes in Decision-Making Competence
        • Overview
        • Defining Decision-Making Competence
        • Deliberation, Affect, and Decision-Making Competence
        • Aging and Decision-Making Competence
        • Motivational Model of Aging and Decision-Making Competence
        • Current Challenges and Directions for Future Research
        • Summary and Conclusions
    • Section 3. Applied Perspectives
      • Chapter 13. Decision Making and Health Literacy among Older Adults
        • Introduction
        • Older Adults and Health Decisions
        • Aging, Health Literacy, and Health-Related Decisions
        • Conclusions
      • Chapter 14. Decisions and Actions for Life Patterns and Health Practices as We Age: A Bottom-up Approach
        • Overview
        • Themes for Modeling Health Preferences and Decisions
        • Modeling the Processes Underlying Health Decisions and Actions
        • Executive Function in a Common-Sense Framework: Selective Evidence
        • Summary and Thoughts for the Future
      • Chapter 15. Choice and Aging: Less is More
        • Introduction
        • Choice Preference and Size in Decision Making
        • Dual-Process Models and Implications for Decision Making in Older Adults
        • An Empirical Study Testing the Mediating Effect of Cognitive Ability on Choice Preference
        • Numeracy and Choice Set Size in Decision Making
        • Additional Factors in Relation to Choice Set Size and Preference
        • Summary
      • Chapter 16. Financial Decision Making across the Adult Life Span: Dynamic Cognitive Capacities and Real-World Competence
        • Fluid Abilities, Crystallized Abilities, and Financial Knowledge
        • The Nature of Financial Decision-Making Tasks
        • Reasons Why Individuals Make Poor Financial Decisions
        • Interventions Designed to Improve Financial Decision Making
        • Summary and Conclusion
      • Chapter 17. Aging and Consumer Decision Making
        • Age Differences in Basic Decision Skills and Strategies
        • Age Differences in Consumer Choice and Decision Making
        • Moderating Influences on Aging and Decision Making
        • Conclusions
      • Chapter 18. A Framework for Decision Making in Couples across Adulthood
        • A Framework for Understanding Dyadic Decision-Making Processes
        • Existing Literature on Dyadic Decision Making
        • Future Directions
        • Conclusion
    • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 432
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2015
  • Published: February 17, 2015
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124171558
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780124171480

About the Editors

Thomas Hess

Thomas M. Hess, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at North Carolina State University who studies aging and cognitive functioning. His research on aging, judgment, and decision processes has been funded by NIH. He is Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, and Gerontological Society of America.

Affiliations and Expertise

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA

JoNell Strough

JoNell Strough, Ph.D., is a life-span developmental psychologist and professor at West Virginia University. She is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, a member of the Scientific Research Network on Decision Neuroscience and Aging and other scientific associations, and has received research funding from the National Institute on Aging.

Affiliations and Expertise

West Virginia University, Department of Psychology, Morgantown, WV, USA

Corinna Löckenhoff

Corinna E. Löckenhoff, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of human development at Cornell University and studies emotions, social relations, and decision making from a life-span perspective. Her work is supported by the National Institute on Aging and she has been named a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science.

Affiliations and Expertise

Cornell University, Department of Human Development, Ithaca, NY, USA

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