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Age Differences in Intertemporal Choice: The Role of Task Type, Outcome Characteristics, and Covariates.

Publication ,  Journal Article
Löckenhoff, CE; Samanez-Larkin, GR
Published in: The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences
January 2020

Prior research has revealed age differences in the preferred timing of monetary outcomes, but results are inconsistent across studies. The present study examined the role of task type, outcome characteristics, and a range of theoretically implicated covariates that may contribute to variations in age effects.Two types of intertemporal choice paradigms (temporal discounting and sequence construction) were administered to a diverse life-span sample (n = 287, aged 18-87). The design experimentally manipulated outcome delay (months vs years), amount (hundreds vs thousands), and valence (gain vs loss) while statistically controlling for a range of potential covariates including demographics, affect, personality, time perspective, subjective health, and numeracy.In the temporal discounting task, no significant age differences were observed and this pattern did not differ by outcome delay, amount, or valence. In the sequence-construction task, age was associated with a preference for sequences of decreasing impact in the gain condition but not in the loss condition, whereas outcome delay and amount did not moderate age effects. Age patterns in discounting and sequences preferences remained unchanged after controlling for covariates.These findings converge with prior studies reporting weak or null effects of age in temporal discounting tasks and suggest that inconsistent results are not due to variations in outcome valence, delay, or amount across studies. Findings also add to the scarce evidence for age differences sequence-preferences. After discussing methodological limitations, we consider implications for future research and practice.

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Published In

The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences

DOI

EISSN

1758-5368

ISSN

1079-5014

Publication Date

January 2020

Volume

75

Issue

1

Start / End Page

85 / 95

Related Subject Headings

  • Young Adult
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Humans
  • Gerontology
  • Female
  • Delay Discounting
  • Aging
  • Aged, 80 and over
 

Citation

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Löckenhoff, C. E., & Samanez-Larkin, G. R. (2020). Age Differences in Intertemporal Choice: The Role of Task Type, Outcome Characteristics, and Covariates. The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 75(1), 85–95. https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbz097
Löckenhoff, Corinna E., and Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin. “Age Differences in Intertemporal Choice: The Role of Task Type, Outcome Characteristics, and Covariates.The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 75, no. 1 (January 2020): 85–95. https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbz097.
Löckenhoff CE, Samanez-Larkin GR. Age Differences in Intertemporal Choice: The Role of Task Type, Outcome Characteristics, and Covariates. The journals of gerontology Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences. 2020 Jan;75(1):85–95.
Löckenhoff, Corinna E., and Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin. “Age Differences in Intertemporal Choice: The Role of Task Type, Outcome Characteristics, and Covariates.The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, vol. 75, no. 1, Jan. 2020, pp. 85–95. Epmc, doi:10.1093/geronb/gbz097.
Löckenhoff CE, Samanez-Larkin GR. Age Differences in Intertemporal Choice: The Role of Task Type, Outcome Characteristics, and Covariates. The journals of gerontology Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences. 2020 Jan;75(1):85–95.
Journal cover image

Published In

The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences

DOI

EISSN

1758-5368

ISSN

1079-5014

Publication Date

January 2020

Volume

75

Issue

1

Start / End Page

85 / 95

Related Subject Headings

  • Young Adult
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Humans
  • Gerontology
  • Female
  • Delay Discounting
  • Aging
  • Aged, 80 and over