For Healthy Older Adults, Aging Does Not Impair Decision-Making

It is commonly assumed that as we grow older, our ability to make sound decisions declines. But new research by the MetLife Mature Market Institute and the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas at Dallas shows that previous studies on age-related decline of the ability to think logically and solve problems were flawed in key ways.

The Healthy Brain, Healthy Decisions [ https://www.metlife.com/mmi/research/healthy-brain-healthy-decisions.html#key findings] study noted that earlier researchers lumped all seniors into one group, failing to separate out test subjects who were dealing with dementia and other health problems that caused cognitive impairment. The new study instead examined healthy seniors, and found that in many ways, people in their 70s surpass younger people when it comes to strategic learning capacity, conscientiousness and vigilance in decision-making.

“The study findings are a crucial first step to move beyond age as a demographic factor used to explain impaired decision-making,” said University of Texas researcher Sandra Chapman, Ph.D. “Policies and practices that focus exclusively on age-related declines in decision-making will unnecessarily curtail the autonomy of older adults with preserved cognitive function. Age is not a disease.”

Source: AgeWise reporting on MetLife Mature Market Institute study. Read the entire study here [link to: https://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/mmi/publications/studies/2012/studies/mmi-healthy-brain-study.pdf ].