Nav: Home

Brainhealth: Financial decision-making capacity need not decline in healthy advanced aging

June 19, 2018

New research from The Center for BrainHealth® at The University of Texas at Dallas shows that advancing age alone is not the defining factor in impaired financial decision-making.

The study, published in Frontiers, assessed how - and whether - age influences cognitive processes that may be involved in financial decision-making. The researchers investigated how factors such as cognition, education and gender affected monetary choices. "All too often, as people age, we tend to develop a bias expecting diminished capacities, which in turn overlooks, short-changes or discounts their competence to remain actively engaged in personal financial matters," said study author Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth, and Dee Wyly Distinguished University Professor.

The study examined the influence of age on financial decision-making in terms of sure options versus gamble options in 200 cognitively healthy adults between 28 and 79 years old.

In the study, participants completed three hours of cognitive testing and several rounds of financial decision-making questions. They were tested on a large battery of cognitive measures in the domains of executive function, memory and complex attention.

At the beginning of each trial, participants received a virtual financial nest egg. They then were asked to choose between taking a guaranteed amount that was less than the initial endowment, or gambling the entire amount for a chance to win - or lose - the larger pot.

"We found that individuals who performed better on certain cognitive tests, regardless of age, were less likely to make risky financial decisions. This research is particularly important because the findings caution against attributing impaired decision-making to age alone," Dr. Chapman continued.

The study also found that older adults were more likely to demonstrate risky financial behavior only when faced with larger amounts of money.

Stronger performance on measures of both strategic learning and delayed memory may predict that a person is better at analytic processing, which is necessary to assess financial risk, Chapman added.

"Future studies are warranted to examine whether these cognitive abilities directly relate to measures of analytic processing and how older adults can be prompted to use analytic processing to avoid potentially fraudulent scams," said Alison Perez MS'13, PhD'16, lead author of the study who conducted the research at the Center for BrainHealth before joining Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories as a research scientist.

"When we see declines in decision-making, these problems may signal early changes related to abnormal health or cognitive decline as opposed to age alone. The key is that retained decision-making is possible at any age with a commitment to keeping mentally active and in the absence of neurologic disease or injury," Dr. Perez said.
-end-
Funding for the study was provided by the National Institutes of Health, the MetLife Mature Market Institute, the American Brain Foundation Clinical Research Training Fellowship, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, the T. Boone Pickens Foundation, the Lyda Hill Foundation, the Dee Wyly Distinguished University Endowment and the Friends of BrainHealth Distinguished New Scientist?Award.

ABOUT THE CENTER FOR BRAINHEALTH®

The Center for BrainHealth®, part of The University of Texas at Dallas, is a research institute committed to enhancing, protecting and restoring brain health across the lifespan. Scientific exploration at the Center for BrainHealth is leading edge, improving lives today and translating groundbreaking discoveries into practical clinical application. By delivering science-based innovations that enhance how people think, work, and live, the Center and its Brain Performance Institute™ are empowering people of all ages to unlock their brain potential. Major research areas include the use of functional and structural neuroimaging techniques to better understand the neurobiology supporting cognition and emotion in health and disease.

Center for BrainHealth

Related Memory Articles:

Previously claimed memory boosting font 'Sans Forgetica' does not actually boost memory
It was previously claimed that the font Sans Forgetica could enhance people's memory for information, however researchers from the University of Warwick and the University of Waikato, New Zealand, have found after carrying out numerous experiments that the font does not enhance memory.
Memory boost with just one look
HRL Laboratories, LLC, researchers have published results showing that targeted transcranial electrical stimulation during slow-wave sleep can improve metamemories of specific episodes by 20% after only one viewing of the episode, compared to controls.
VR is not suited to visual memory?!
Toyohashi university of technology researcher and a research team at Tokyo Denki University have found that virtual reality (VR) may interfere with visual memory.
The genetic signature of memory
Despite their importance in memory, the human cortex and subcortex display a distinct collection of 'gene signatures.' The work recently published in eNeuro increases our understanding of how the brain creates memories and identifies potential genes for further investigation.
How long does memory last? For shape memory alloys, the longer the better
Scientists captured live action details of the phase transitions of shape memory alloys, giving them a better idea how to improve their properties for applications.
A NEAT discovery about memory
UAB researchers say over expression of NEAT1, an noncoding RNA, appears to diminish the ability of older brains to form memories.
Molecular memory can be used to increase the memory capacity of hard disks
Researchers at the University of Jyväskylä have taken part in an international British-Finnish-Chinese collaboration where the first molecule capable of remembering the direction of a magnetic above liquid nitrogen temperatures has been prepared and characterized.
Memory transferred between snails
Memories can be transferred between organisms by extracting ribonucleic acid (RNA) from a trained animal and injecting it into an untrained animal, as demonstrated in a study of sea snails published in eNeuro.
An immunological memory in the brain
Inflammatory reactions can change the brain's immune cells in the long term -- meaning that these cells have an 'immunological memory.' This memory may influence the progression of neurological disorders that occur later in life, and is therefore a previously unknown factor that could influence the severity of these diseases.
Anxiety can help your memory
Anxiety can help people to remember things, a study from the University of Waterloo has found.
More Memory News and Memory Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Processing The Pandemic
Between the pandemic and America's reckoning with racism and police brutality, many of us are anxious, angry, and depressed. This hour, TED Fellow and writer Laurel Braitman helps us process it all.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#568 Poker Face Psychology
Anyone who's seen pop culture depictions of poker might think statistics and math is the only way to get ahead. But no, there's psychology too. Author Maria Konnikova took her Ph.D. in psychology to the poker table, and turned out to be good. So good, she went pro in poker, and learned all about her own biases on the way. We're talking about her new book "The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Invisible Allies
As scientists have been scrambling to find new and better ways to treat covid-19, they've come across some unexpected allies. Invisible and primordial, these protectors have been with us all along. And they just might help us to better weather this viral storm. To kick things off, we travel through time from a homeless shelter to a military hospital, pondering the pandemic-fighting power of the sun. And then, we dive deep into the periodic table to look at how a simple element might actually be a microbe's biggest foe. This episode was reported by Simon Adler and Molly Webster, and produced by Annie McEwen and Pat Walters. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.