Mechanisms of Social Decision Making in Older Adults: Implications for Public Policy?
Older adults are at increased risk for financial exploitation and also age-related health problems, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Yet, we have little insight into how we can reduce risk of (or delay) the associated cognitive decline and functional impairments, including those associated with vulnerability to financial exploitation. In this talk, I will present some of the ongoing work from my lab that uses functional magnetic resonance imaging to explore the underlying brain mechanisms that shape how older adults make social decisions, particularly those that involve trusting other people. Our goal is to understand how these brain mechanisms are related to financial exploitation and the functional impairments associated with risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. We believe that developing a better understanding of the relations between these factors is an important step toward early identification and creating interventions that might eventually be used to improve outcomes in older adults.