The research team led by João Marques-Teixeira has published, in the scope of the research project The Aging Social Brain – Neural and behavioral age-related changes in social cognition and decision-making supported by the Bial Foundation, the paper Age differences in neural correlates of feedback processing after economic decisions under risk in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.
This study examines age-related differences in behavioral responses to risk and in the neurophysiological correlates of feedback processing. Our sample was composed of younger, middle-aged, and older adults, who were asked to decide between 2 risky options, in the gain and loss domains, during an EEG recording. Results evidenced group-related differences in early and later stages of feedback processing, indexed by differences in the feedback-related negativity (FRN) and P3 amplitudes. Specifically, in the loss domain, younger adults showed higher FRN amplitudes after non-losses than after losses, whereas middle-aged and older adults had similar FRN amplitudes after both. In the gain domain, younger and middle-aged adults had higher P3 amplitudes after gains than after non-gains, whereas older adults had similar P3 amplitudes after both. Behaviorally, older adults had higher rates of risky decisions than younger adults in the loss domain, a result that was correlated with poorer performance in memory and executive functions. Our results suggest age-related differences in the outcome-related expectations, as well as in the affective relevance attributed to the outcomes, which may underlie the group differences found in risk-aversion.