Older Adults Show Diminished Sensitivity to Potential Losses in Social Bargaining

Yi Huang, Jingwen Chai, Lei Feng, Rongjun Yu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Leaders in many organizations are older adults who routinely make decisions in social bargaining situations. However, we know little about the age-related differences in strategic decision making. 

Methods: In the current study (n = 182), using a modified Prisoner's Dilemma game (PDG), we examined two important intrinsic motivations for non-cooperation: fear of betrayal and greedy desire to exploit other people among young and older Chinese Singaporeans. 

Results: Results showed that compared with young adults, older adults demonstrated an intact greed motive but a diminished fear motive in the PDG. 

Discussion: Our findings suggest a diminished sensitivity to social threat or potential losses due to betrayal in older adults' social decision making. Older adults may have a declined ability to assess social threats even though they retain the motivation to gain an exploitive advantage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1699-1704
Number of pages6
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number8
Early online date6 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • aging
  • cooperation
  • fear
  • greed


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