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Grandpa's Decision-Making Skills May Be Just Fine
Date:6/2/2010

to process details, he said. "You can help many older adults make higher-quality decisions by presenting the information a little bit better."

For example, it might help to adjust the length of time the elderly get to review and choose different prescription plans.

Dr. Gary Small, director of the University of California at Los Angeles Center on Aging, said it makes sense that age doesn't affect decision-making if there aren't changes to memory and the brain's speed of processing information.

The overall picture is complicated, however. "Reaction time, short-term memory ability and processing speed decline with age, but complex reasoning skills improve," he said. "Together, these factors have a complex impact on age-related decision-making skills, so that some individuals show improvement while others show decline in decision-making skills associated with aging."

More information

For more about memory, a crucial part of decision making, see the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Scott A. Huettel, Ph.D., associate professor, psychology and neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, N.C., and director, Duke Center for Neuroeconomic Studies; Gary W. Small, M.D., director, UCLA Center on Aging, University of California at Los Angeles; June 1, 2010, Psychology and Aging


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