Is There a Correlation Between Aging and Risk Taking?

Older people seem to be less willing to take risks. But what does science say about it?
older people & risk taking

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We know that people over a certain age take much less risk than young people. Now, you may think that this is because of wisdom or experience. But according to the findings of a recent study, declining volume of gray matter in the brain may be the likely cause of this behavior.

Within the scope of the study, scientists wanted participants between 18 and 88 years of age to play a game that required risky moves. Participants were offered to receive $5 or try their chances with a lottery of varying amounts. They could win $120 with the lottery but there was also a losing option.

As expected, older participants were more likely to receive guaranteed money. Although there was no perfect correlation between age and risk taking, it’s possible to say that the general tendency was in this direction.

The scientists then analyzed the participant’s brain scan results. According to researchers’ findings, taking less risk is more related with having less gray matter in the brain than being old.

According to research published in Nature Communications, changes in the brains of people have a much more influence than we think on decision-making mechanisms and preferences.

The relationship between less risk taking and aging and the declining of gray matter in the brain can also be interpreted from an evolutionary point of view.

As people get older, they are less likely to endure the consequences of their risks. On the other hand, it can be assumed that in old age, people have enough living conditions and therefore don’t need to take risks. At a young age, the safe option may not seem to be enough for raising children and having better living conditions.