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

    5 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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