Journal Mobile Options
Table of Contents
Vol. 56, No. 3, 2010
Issue release date: April 2010
Gerontology 2010;56:319–324
(DOI:10.1159/000248829)

Aging and Decision-Making: A Neurocognitive Perspective

Brand M. · Markowitsch H.J.
aGeneral Psychology: Cognition, University of Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg, bErwin L. Hahn Institute for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Essen, and cPhysiological Psychology, University of Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany

Individual Users: Register with Karger Login Information

Please create your User ID & Password





Contact Information











I have read the Karger Terms and Conditions and agree.

To view the fulltext, please log in

To view the pdf, please log in

Abstract

Neuropsychological research contributes to a better understanding of cognitive mechanisms involved in making advantageous decisions, which is important for everyday life. Using laboratory gambling tasks, it has been demonstrated that both structural and functional brain changes can result in disadvantageous decision-making linked to reductions in executive functioning and feedback processing. However, relatively little is known about whether or not decision-making on these tasks is affected by normal aging. We argue that functions involved in decision-making – in particular categorization and monitoring processes – are most likely reduced in older adults. These reductions should lead to decision-making difficulties in older individuals. However, we also argue that the effects of age on decision-making depend on the type of decision situation (i.e. ambiguous or risky) in combination with the complexity of the decision-making task. In addition, we give a brief overview of methodological issues that should be taken into account in future studies on decision-making and aging.



Copyright / Drug Dosage

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

References

  1. Bechara A: The role of emotion in decision-making: evidence from neurological patients with orbitofrontal damage. Brain Cogn 2004;55:30–40.
  2. Brand M, Labudda K, Markowitsch HJ: Neuropsychological correlates of decision-making in ambiguous and risky situations. Neural Netw 2006;19:1266–1276.
  3. Damasio AR: Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. New York, Grosset/Putnam, 1994.
  4. Zamarian L, Sinz H, Bonatti E, Gamboz N, Delazer M: Normal aging affects decisions under ambiguity, but not decisions under risk. Neuropsychology 2008;22:645–657.
  5. Bonatti E, Zamarian L, Wagner M, Benke T, Hollosi P, Strubreither W, Delazer M: Making decisions and advising decisions in traumatic brain injury. Cogn Behav Neurol 2008;21:164–175.
  6. Dunn BD, Dalgleish T, Lawrence AD: The somatic marker hypothesis: a critical evaluation. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2006;30:239–271.
  7. Brand M, Laier C, Pawlikowski M, Markowitsch HJ: Decision making with and without feedback: the role of intelligence, strategies, and cognitive styles. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol 2009;31:984–998.
  8. Brand M, Pawlikowski M, Labudda K, Laier C, von Rothkirch N, Markowitsch HJ: Do amnesic patients with Korsakoff’s syndrome use feedback when making decisions under risky conditions? An experimental investigation with the Game of Dice Task with and without feedback. Brain Cogn 2009;69:279–290.
  9. Delazer M, Sinz H, Zamarian L, Benke T: Decision-making with explicit and stable rules in mild Alzheimer’s disease. Neuropsychologia 2007;45:1632–1641.
  10. Bechara A: Decision making, impulse control and loss of willpower to resist drugs: a neurocognitive perspective. Nat Neurosci 2005;8:1458–1463.
  11. Deakin J, Aitken M, Robbins T, Sahakian BJ: Risk taking during decision-making in normal volunteers changes with age. J Int Neuropsychol Soc 2004;10:590–598.
  12. Mather M: A review of decision-making processes: weighing the risks and benefits of aging; in Carstensen LL, Hartel CR (eds): When I’m 64. Washington, The National Academies Press, 2006, pp 145–173.
  13. Bechara A, Damasio AR, Damasio H, Anderson SW: Insensitivity to future consequences following damage to human prefrontal cortex. Cognition 1994;50:7–15.
  14. Bechara A, Tranel D, Damasio H: Characterization of the decision-making deficit of patients with ventromedial prefrontal cortex lesions. Brain 2000;123:2189–2202.
  15. Bechara A, Damasio H, Tranel D, Damasio AR: Deciding advantageously before knowing the advantageous strategy. Science 1997;275:1293–1295.
  16. Brand M, Recknor EC, Grabenhorst F, Bechara A: Decisions under ambiguity and decisions under risk: correlations with executive functions and comparisons of two different gambling tasks with implicit and explicit rules. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol 2007;29:86–99.
  17. Bechara A, Dolan S, Denburg N, Hindes A, Anderson SW, Nathan PE: Decision-making deficits, linked to a dysfunctional ventromedial prefrontal cortex, revealed in alcohol and stimulant abusers. Neuropsychologia 2001;39:376–389.
  18. Clark L, Bechara A, Damasio H, Aitken MR, Sahakian BJ, Robbins TW: Differential effects of insular and ventromedial prefrontal cortex lesions on risky decision-making. Brain 2008;131:1311–1322.
  19. Manes F, Sahakian B, Clark L, Rogers R, Antoun N, Aitken M, Robbins T: Decision-making processes following damage to the prefrontal cortex. Brain 2002;125:624–639.
  20. Bechara A, Damasio H, Damasio AR, Lee GP: Different contributions of the human amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex to decision-making. J Neurosci 1999;19:5473–5481.
  21. Brand M, Grabenhorst F, Starcke K, Vandekerckhove MMP, Markowitsch HJ: Role of the amygdala in decisions under ambiguity and decisions under risk: evidence from patients with Urbach-Wiethe disease. Neuropsychologia 2007;45:1305–1317.
  22. Brand M, Fujiwara E, Borsutzky S, Kalbe E, Kessler J, Markowitsch HJ: Decision-making deficits of Korsakoff patients in a new gambling task with explicit rules: associations with executive functions. Neuropsychology 2005;19:267–277.
  23. Brand M, Heinze K, Labudda K, Markowitsch HJ: The role of strategies in deciding advantageously in ambiguous and risky situations. Cogn Process 2008;9:159–173.
  24. Brand M: Does the feedback from previous trials influence current decisions? A study on the role of feedback processing in making decisions under explicit risk conditions. J Neuropsychol 2008;2:431–443.
  25. Brand M, Labudda K, Kalbe E, Hilker R, Emmans D, Fuchs G, Kessler J, Markowitsch HJ: Decision-making impairments in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Behav Neurol 2004;15:77–85.
  26. Brand M, Roth-Bauer M, Driessen M, Markowitsch HJ: Executive functions and risky decision-making in patients with opiate dependence. Drug Alcohol Depend 2008;97:64–72.
  27. Smith EE, Jonides J: Storage and executive processes in the frontal lobes. Science 1999;283:1657–1661.
  28. Sinz H, Zamarian L, Benke T, Wenning GK, Delazer M: Impact of ambiguity and risk on decision making in mild Alzheimer’s disease. Neuropsychologia 2008;46:2043–2055.
  29. Rogers RD, Owen AM, Middleton HC, Williams EJ, Pickard JD, Sahakian BJ, Robbins TW: Choosing between small, likely rewards and large, unlikely rewards activates inferior and orbital prefrontal cortex. J Neurosci 1999;20:9029–9038.
  30. Bonatti E, Kuchukhidze G, Zamarian L, Trinka E, Bodner T, Benke T, Delazer M: Decision making in ambiguous and risky situations after unilateral temporal lobe epilepsy surgery. Epilepsy Behav 2009;14:665–673.
  31. Rypma B, Prabhakaran V, Desmond EJ, Gabrieli EDJ: Age differences in prefrontal cortical activity in working memory. Psychol Aging 2001;16:371–384.
  32. Elderkin-Thompson V, Ballmaier M, Hellemann G, Pham D, Kumar A: Executive function and MRI prefrontal volumes among healthy older adults. Neuropsychology 2008;22:626–637.
  33. Allain P, Berrut G, Etcharry-Bouyx F, Barré J, Dubas F, Le Gall D: Executive functions in normal aging: an examination of script sequencing, script sorting, and script monitoring. J Gerontology B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 2007;62:187–190.
  34. Uekermann J, Channon S, Daum I: Humor processing, mentalizing, and executive function in normal aging. J Int Neuropsychol Soc 2006;12:184–191.
  35. Raz N: Aging of the brain and its impact on cognitive performance: integration of structural and functional findings; in Craik FIM, Salthouse TA (eds): The Handbook of Aging and Cognition. Mahwah, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000, pp 1–90.
  36. Phillips LH, Henry JD: An evaluation of the frontal lobe theory of cognitive aging; in Duncan J, Phillips LH, McLeod P (eds): Measuring the Mind: Speed, Control and Age. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2005, pp 191–216.
  37. Phillips S, Henry JD: Adult aging and executive function; in Anderson V, Anderson P, Jacobs R (eds): Executive Function and the Frontal Lobes: A Life Span Perspective. Hove, Psychology Press, 2008, pp 57–80.
  38. Isella V, Mapelli C, Morielli N, Pelati O, Franceschi M, Appollonio IM: Age-related quantitative and qualitative changes in decision making ability. Behav Neurol 2008;19:59–63.
  39. Wood S, Busemeyer J, Koling A, Cox CR, Davis H: Older adults as adaptive decision makers: evidence from the Iowa Gambling Task. Psychol Aging 2005;20:220–225.
  40. Denburg NL, Recknor EC, Bechara A, Tranel D: Psychophysiological anticipation of positive outcomes promotes advantageous decision-making in normal older persons. Int J Psychophysiol 2006;61:19–25.
  41. Denburg NL, Tranel D, Bechara A: The ability to decide advantageously declines prematurely in some normal older persons. Neuropsychologia 2005;43:1099–1106.
  42. Denburg NL, Tranel D, Bechara A, Damasio AR: Normal aging may compromise the ability to decide advantageously. Brain Cogn 2001;47:156–159.

    External Resources

  43. Bechara A, Martin EM: Impaired decision making related to working memory deficits in individuals with substance addictions. Neuropsychology 2004;18:152–162.
  44. Turnbull OH, Evans CE, Bunce A, Carzolio B, O’Connor J: Emotion-based learning and central executive resources: an investigation of intuition and the Iowa Gambling Task. Brain Cogn 2005;57:244–247.
  45. Bechara A, Damasio H, Damasio AR: Emotion, decision making and the orbitofrontal cortex. Cereb Cortex 2000;10:295–307.
  46. Cohen J: Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences ed 2. Hillsdale, Erlbaum, 1988.
  47. Cohen J, Cohen P, West SG, Aiken LS: Applied Multiple Regression/Correlation Analysis for the Behavioral Science ed 3. Mahwah, Lawrence Erlbaum, 2003.


Pay-per-View Options
Direct payment This item at the regular price: USD 38.00
Payment from account With a Karger Pay-per-View account (down payment USD 150) you profit from a special rate for this and other single items.
This item at the discounted price: USD 26.50