Older Adults Show Diminished Sensitivity to Potential Losses in Social Bargaining

Yi HUANG, Jingwen CHAI, Lei FENG, Rongjun YU

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


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.

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

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
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

We acknowledge the Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE2016-T2-1-015) for financial support.


  • aging
  • cooperation
  • fear
  • greed


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