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Are older adults better at making decisions than young adult? Study confirms

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Looking for a new job? Maybe a swank new apartment? If you're looking to make a change, research from Psychological Science shows that that the older you are, the better you get at making decisions.

Looking for a new job? Maybe a swank new apartment? If you're looking to make a change, research from Psychological Science shows that that the older you are, the better you get at making decisions.

In a prepared statement, study author Darrell Worthy said:

"We found that older adults are better at evaluating the immediate and delayed benefits of each option they choose from. They are better at creating strategies in response to the environment."

Highlights:

  • Researchers conducted two experiments. The first group tested adults on a point system. Participants included both the young and old.
  • In the first experiment, young adults were shown to go for the decision with immediate rewards.
  • In the second experiment, the older adults scored better due to to the fact that older adults were asked to evaluate each result.

In a brief explanation, Worthy said:

"The younger adults were better when only the immediate rewards needed to be considered."

"But the second experiment required developing a theory about how rewards in the environment were structured. The more experience you have in this, the better you are better at it."

How did researchers sum it up?

"More broadly, our findings suggest that older adults have learned a number of heuristics" reasoning methods "from their vast decision-making experience," said Worthy. Another word for this, which the psychologists use in their title, is wisdom."

Image: Flickr via Borya

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Stacy Lipson

Contributing Writer

Contributing Writer Stacy Lipson has written for Natural Health, MSNBC's Body Odd, HealthDay.com, Sprig.com, BNET.com, MarieClaire.com, MyDaily.com and Lemondrop.com. He holds a degree from Temple University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure