Is Reliance on the Affect Heuristic Associated with Age?
With age, decision makers rely more on heuristic and affect-based processing. However, age differences in reliance on the ‘affect heuristic’ have not yet been quantified. This heuristic derives judgments by drawing on one’s positive and negative feelings towards stimuli. To test whether affect heuristic usage is associated with age, an adult lifespan sample (N = 195, 21 – 90 years, Mage = 52.95, 50% female, 71% non-Hispanic White) completed three affect heuristic tasks. Reliance on affect was indexed through a positive relationship between feelings of dread and statistical inferences about mortality risks, a positive relationship between affective responses and impact judgments when evaluating catastrophes, and a negative perceived relationship between food risks and benefits. Contrary to our hypothesis, older age did not predict stronger use of the affect heuristic. Indices did not correlate across tasks, suggesting that use of the affect heuristic is context- or stimulus-dependent rather than a stable trait.
Affect heuristic; Aging; Decision making; Emotion; Judgment; Risk
Loeckenhoff, Corinna E.
Gilovich, Thomas D.; Ong, Anthony D.
M.A., Human Development
Master of Arts
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
dissertation or thesis
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International