Aging and decision making under uncertainty: Behavioral and neural evidence for the preservation of decision making in the absence of learning in old age

S. M.Hadi Hosseini, Maryam Rostami, Yukihito Yomogida, Makoto Takahashi, Takashi Tsukiura, Ryuta Kawashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Decision making under uncertainty is an essential component of everyday life. Recent psychological studies suggest that older adults, despite age-related neurological decline, can make advantageous decisions when information about the contingencies of the outcomes is available. In this study, a two-choice prediction paradigm has been used, in conjunction with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), to investigate the effects of normal aging on neural substrates underlying uncertain decision making in the absence of learning that have not been addressed in previous neuroimaging studies. Neuroimaging results showed that both the healthy older and young adults recruited a network of brain regions comprising the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, bilateral inferior parietal lobule, medial frontal cortex, and right lateral orbitofrontal cortex during the prediction task. As was hypothesized, the performance of older adults in the prediction task was not impaired compared to young adults. Although no significant age-related increases in brain activity have been found, we observed an age-related decrease in activity in the right inferior parietal lobule. We speculate that the observed age-related decrease in parietal activity could be explained by age-related differences in decision making behavior revealed by questionnaire results and maximizing scores. Together, this study demonstrates behavioral and neural evidence for the preservation of decision making in older adults when information about the contingencies of the outcome is available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1514-1520
Number of pages7
JournalNeuroImage
Volume52
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Oct

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Decision making
  • FMRI
  • Maximizing
  • Probability matching
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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