Decision-making Strategies and Performance among Seniors
Using paper and pencil experiments administered in senior centers, we examine decision-making performance in multi-attribute decision problems. We find a significant decline in performance with age due to reduced reliance on common heuristics among our oldest subjects. Subjects in their early sixties incorporate a wide array of heuristics, septuagenarians employ progressively fewer strategies, and subjects in their 80s make nearly random selections. However, we find that increasing the number of options in a decision problem increases the number of heuristics brought to the task. This challenges the choice overload view that people give up when confronted with too much choice.
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