Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Neuroeconomics and Aging

An interesting review paper below (subscription required). Decision making changes due to biological aging processes is a fertile and interesting area of research that we have posted on a few times before. In general, biological processes that determine different types of preferences across the lifecycle are being studied to provide explanations for a number of important economic problems such as hyperbolic discounting and regret. 
Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews
Volume 34, Issue 5, April 2010, Pages 678-688
Special Section: Dopaminergic Modulation of Lifespan Cognition


Neuroeconomics and aging: Neuromodulation of economic decision making in old age
Peter N.C. Mohra, b, Corresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author, Shu-Chen Lia and Hauke R. Heekerena, b
a Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany
b Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany

Available online 9 June 2009.


Economic decision making is a complex process of integrating and comparing various aspects of economically relevant choice options. Neuroeconomics has made important progress in grounding these aspects of decision making in neural systems and the neurotransmitters therein. The dopaminergic and serotoninergic brain systems have been identified as key neurotransmitter systems involved in economic behavior. Both are known to be prone to significant changes during the adult lifespan. Similarly, economic behavior undergoes significant age-related changes over the course of the adult lifespan. Here we propose a triadic relationship between (a) economic decision making, (b) dopaminergic and serotonergic neuromodulation, and (c) aging. In this review, we describe the different relationships around this triad in detail and summarize current evidence that supports them. Based on the reviewed evidence, we propose new research agendas that take the entire triad into account.
Keywords: Neuroeconomics; Aging; Neuromodulation; Reward; Risk; fMRI; Decision making

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