Sunday, August 09, 2009

Framing Effects and Age

This paper in the latest issue of Journals of Gerontology (Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences) is worth noting. Especially given my intereset in "framing" the rate of aging itself.

Studies like this may yield important insights for biogerontologists in terms of helping to explain why (unfortunately!) many people do not perceive aging research itself as an important science worthy of more public funding. And much depends on how you frame the benefits of age retardation- as preventing "a loss" (disease and death) or promising "a gain" (extended lifespan).

Here is the abstract from the paper on framing effects and age:

Studies of the framing effect indicate that individuals are risk averse for decisions framed as gains but risk seeking for decisions framed as losses. However, findings regarding age-related changes in susceptibility to framing are mixed. Recent work demonstrating age-related decreases in reactivity to anticipated monetary losses, but not gains, suggests that older and younger adults might show equivalent risk aversion for gains but discrepant risk seeking for losses. In the current study, older and younger adults completed a monetary gambling task in which they chose between sure options and risky gambles (the expected outcomes of which were equated). Although both groups demonstrated risk aversion in the gain frame, only younger adults showed risk seeking in the loss frame.