Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Aging: Growing Older Is Found to Hurt Decision Making

[29 January 2008 - New York Times] For the especially unscrupulous con artist, the elderly are a tempting target. Now researchers have confirmed in the lab what frauds already knew instinctively: as they grow older, even people who seem perfectly on top of things may have trouble making good decisions. The researchers based their findings on a series of tests given to two groups of healthy people, one ages 26 to 55, the other 56 to 85. The goal was to see how well the older volunteers used the skills often demanded of them when making decisions in real life about activities like investments, insurance and estate planning. “Such decisions would be a challenge even for young adults,” the researchers note in the current Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. But when age is taken into account, they said, along with the abundance of shady marketing schemes, the challenge becomes even greater. More

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