A new study has claimed that older adults are better at making decisions that will reward them in the long term as compared to younger adults, who are interested only in instant benefits.
Researchers from the University of Texas and Texas A and M University, asked 28 "older" adults and the same number of younger participants to perform a decision-making task in which they needed to think about immediate rewards.
While the young group fared best at choosing the options which gave short-term benefits, the older participants outperformed the younger ones in a second experiment in which about 50 men and women aged 67-82 and a group of 50 aged 20-36 were asked to store oxygen on a virtual mission to Mars.
The second involved choosing an option that increased the rewards in future trials, and one, which decreased future rewards but offered a larger immediate one.
"Broadly, these results suggest that younger adults may behave more impulsively, favouring immediate gains, while older adults are better at considering the long-term ramifications of their actions," the Daily Mail quoted Todd Maddox, professor of psychology at the University of Texas as saying.
"We found that younger adults performed equivalently in the experiment, but older adults were more adept at adjusting their strategy to fit the goals of the task," Maddox stated.
The researchers concluded that regardless of how long pensioners take in coming to a decision, it is generally a better one than a choice made in youthful haste.
The findings of the study will be published in Psychological Science.