Motivation and decision making in the aging brain


Gregory Samanez-Larkin

(Yale University)

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Date: October 19, 2016


As baby boomers continue to age into retirement, there is increasing interest in how to apply knowledge from psychological and neuroscientific research to promote wise decision making in old age. This talk will review recent laboratory research on age differences in intertemporal and risky decision making. This work has identified interesting divergent patterns of time and risk preferences across adulthood in different contexts. New research from our lab and others suggests that previous cognitive and neurobiological theories of the aging brain may need to be revised to account for these context-dependent motivational effects. Specifically, the findings of a recent meta-analysis point to one dopaminergic mechanism that might be spared or even enhanced with age that may partially explain these effects. The talk will conclude with the implications of this work for decision making in the real world.

Created: Monday, October 24th, 2016