On the generality of the effect of experiencing prior gains and losses on the Iowa Gambling Task: A study on young and old adults


Prospect Theory predicts that people tend to be more risk seeking if their reference point is perceived as a loss and more risk averse when the reference point is perceived as a gain. In line with this prediction, Franken, Georgieva, Muris and Dijksterhuis (2006) showed that young adults who had a prior experience of monetary gains make more safe choices on subsequent decisions than subjects who had an early experience of losses. There are no experimental studies on how experiencing prior gains and losses differently influences young and older adults on a subsequent decision-making task (the Iowa Gambling Task). Hence, in the current paper, adapting the methodology employed by Franken et al.’s (2006), we intended to test the generality of their effect across the life span. Overall, we found that subjects who experienced prior monetary gains or prior monetary losses did not display significant differences in safe/risky choices on subsequent performance in the Iowa Gambling task. Furthermore, the impact of prior gains and losses on risky/safe card selection did not significantly differ between young and older adults. These results showed that the effect found in the Franken et al.’s study (2006) is limited in its generality.

Problem with this document? Please report it to us.