Decision-making behavior from adolescence to elderly and its relationship with executive functions
Objective: In present study, age related changes in decision-making behavior of healthy participants through the years beginning from adolescence and through later maturity as assessed by Iowa Gambling Test and performance differences between gender and age groups were examined and were compared in a cross-sectional design. Considering the confounding effects of participants' executive functions and their impulsivity levels decision-making performances, the correlations with these variables were also investigated. Method: Decision-making behavior of 157 healthy participants with age ranges 13-80 were divided into 4 groups (13-17, 18-35, 36-60, 60 and above). Executive functions were assessed by Wisconsin Card Sorting Test and impulsivity was assessed by Barratt Impulsivity Inventory. Results: Between-subjects effects revealed that both gender and age had significant effects on decision-making performance. According to paired comparisons, 1835 age group had significantly higher total net scores than the 13-17 age group. Male participants had significantly higher total net scores than the female participants. Despite each group increased their IGT scores within themselves throughout the test, 13-17 and 60 above groups did not achieve the levels of other groups' scores. No significant correlations were found between impulsivity and decision-making performance, a weak significant correlation was found between perseverative errors and total net scores of decision-making test. Discussion: As expected, an inverted U-shaped developmental pattern of decision-making behavior, which was characterized by an increase in performance that became evident in adolescence and proceeds through early adulthood and which was subsequently followed by a decrease in performance through late maturity was determined in this study.
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