Variability in nucleus accumbens activity mediates age-related suboptimal financial risk taking

J Neurosci. 2010 Jan 27;30(4):1426-34. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4902-09.2010.

Abstract

As human life expectancy continues to rise, financial decisions of aging investors may have an increasing impact on the global economy. In this study, we examined age differences in financial decisions across the adult life span by combining functional neuroimaging with a dynamic financial investment task. During the task, older adults made more suboptimal choices than younger adults when choosing risky assets. This age-related effect was mediated by a neural measure of temporal variability in nucleus accumbens activity. These findings reveal a novel neural mechanism by which aging may disrupt rational financial choice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Aging / psychology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology
  • Limbic System / anatomy & histology
  • Limbic System / metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism
  • Reward
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Dopamine