Framing Effect and Age

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Experiment 1 Will older adults be more likely to show framing effects than younger adults? Method Participants. 106 young adults (age 18-25; M = 20.65) and 106 older adults (age 60-78; M = 67.92) participated in this experiment. Materials. Adopted from McNeil, Pauker, Sox, and Tversky (1982) and Wang, Simons, and Bredart (2001). Procedure. Both young and older adults received two problems in either their positive or negative frame. In both studies, young adults were tested in the afternoon, older adults in the morning (see Bodenhausen, 1990 for evidence of a shift in decision strategies across the day). The Framing Effect in Younger and Older Adults Sunghan Kim1, David Goldstein1, Lynn Hasher1, 2, and Rose Zacks3 1University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; 2The Rotman Research Institute, Toronto, Canada; 3Michigan State University Conclusion Older adults generally showed greater framing effect than younger adults. However, when older adults were encouraged to process information more systematically, the size of the framing effect was significantly reduced and the age differences disappeared. The data suggest that older adults are more likely to rely on heuristic processing than younger adults. However, it is demonstrated that when they are encouraged to process information more systematically, they have a capacity to do so and can reduce the age differences. Address for Correspondence: Sunghan Kim, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, 100 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3G3, CANADA; E-mail: [email protected] Introduction Heuristic information processing tends to increase the framing effect whereas systematic information processing (as induced by having participants provide a rationale for their selection) decreases the framing effect (e.g., Miller andamp; Fagley, 1991; Takemura, 1993; Sieck andamp; Yates, 1997). Older adults tend to rely on heuristic information processing more than systematic information processing in contrast to younger adults who tend to rely more on systematic processing than heuristic processing (e.g., Johnson, 1990; Peters et al., 2000). Hypotheses Thus, if older adults rely on heuristic processing more than young adults who rely more on systematic processing, then older adults will be more likely to show framing effects than young adults (Experiment 1). Also, if older adults are asked to provide a rationale for their choice, they will be less susceptible to the framing effect and the age differences may disappear (Experiment 2). Experiment 2 Will older adults also shift to using a more systematic style and show less framing effects as young adults do if they are asked to provide a rationale for their decisions (e.g., Miller andamp; Fagley, 1991; Takemura, 1993; Sieck andamp; Yates, 1997)? Method Participants. 80 young adults (age 17-28; M = 19.99) and 80 older adults (age 58-77; M = 67.78) participated in this experiment. Materials. The same problems were used. Procedure. Young and older adults received two problems in either positive or negative frame at their optimal time of day. Here, participants were asked to provide a rationale for their choice prior to actually indicating their choice (They wrote their rationale). Results Acknowledgement This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (R37 AGO4306). Results Figure 2. Proportions of people choosing the risky option in the positive and negative frames for both young and older adults across the problems. Overall, there was no age effect (age X frame condition: β = 0.35, X2(1, N = 320) = 0.59). Providing a rationale significantly reduced the framing effect for older adults (experimental condition X frame condition: β = -0.91, X2(1, N = 372) = 4.46, p andlt; .05). Figure 1. Proportions of people choosing the risky option in the positive and negative frames for both young and older adults across the problems. Overall, older adults showed significantly greater framing effect than younger adults (age X frame condition: β = 0.88, X2(1, N = 424) = 4.82, p andlt; .05). Suggests greater reliance on heuristic processing. References Johnson, M. M. S. (1990). Age differences in decision making: A process methodology for examining strategic information processing. Journal of Gerontology, 45, 75-78. McNeil, B. J., Pauker, S. G., Sox, H. C., Jr., andamp; Tversky, A. (1982). On the elicitation of preferences for alternative therapies. The New England Journal of Medicine, 306, 1259-1262. Miller, P. M., andamp; Fagley, N. S. (1991). The effects of framing, problem variations, and providing rationale on choice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 517-522. Peters, E., Finucane, M. L., McGregor, D. G., andamp; Slovic, P. (2000). The bearable lightness of aging: Judgment and decision processes in older adults. In National Research Council. Committee on Future Directions for Cognitive Research on Aging. P. C. Stern andamp; L. L. Carstensen (Eds.), The Aging Mind: Opportunities in Cognitive Research (Appendix C, pp. 144-165). Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Takemura, K. (1993). The effect of decision frame and decision justification on risky choice. Japanese Psychological Research, 35, 36-40. Sieck, W., andamp; Yates, J. F. (1997). Exposition effects on decision making: Choice and confidence in choice. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 70, 207-219. Wang, X. T., Simons, F., andamp; Bredart, S. (2001). Social cues and verbal framing in risky choice. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 14, 1-15. CAC 2004