Gain and loss learning differentially contribute to life financial outcomes.

Journal Article

Emerging findings imply that distinct neurobehavioral systems process gains and losses. This study investigated whether individual differences in gain learning and loss learning might contribute to different life financial outcomes (i.e., assets versus debt). In a community sample of healthy adults (nā€Š=ā€Š75), rapid learners had smaller debt-to-asset ratios overall. More specific analyses, however, revealed that those who learned rapidly about gains had more assets, while those who learned rapidly about losses had less debt. These distinct associations remained strong even after controlling for potential cognitive (e.g., intelligence, memory, and risk preferences) and socioeconomic (e.g., age, sex, ethnicity, income, education) confounds. Self-reported measures of assets and debt were additionally validated with credit report data in a subset of subjects. These findings support the notion that different gain and loss learning systems may exert a cumulative influence on distinct life financial outcomes.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Knutson, B; Samanez-Larkin, GR; Kuhnen, CM

Published Date

  • January 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 6 / 9

Start / End Page

  • e24390 -

PubMed ID

  • 21915320

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0024390

Language

  • eng