Teens Make Better Decisions Than Seniors
Study suggests older adults are less rational
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2013 1:39 PM CDT

(Newser) – The notion of a teenager seeking the counsel of a wise elder might seem like a good idea, but a new study suggests those roles should be reversed. Australian researchers gave people from various age groups a series of decisions to make on hypothetical wagers, and those older than 65 fared worse than everyone else, including the young whippersnappers aged 12 to 17, reports the Los Angeles Times. And this isn't about dementia—everybody in the study was healthy and understood the questions—or about betting prowess. Many of the questions boiled down to simple logic.

The seniors were more likely to make "irrational" decisions, such as forgoing a guaranteed win of $5 for a riskier choice to win the same amount. Seniors were also far more inconsistent in their decision-making, being too cautious in some situations and too risky in others. So what is the best age group? A separate study by the Brooking Institute finds that middle-aged people tend to pay lower prices for a range of financial products—mortgage rates, bank fees, credit cards, auto loans, etc.—than older or younger people. In fact, the perfect age in terms of that seems to be 53, reports Medical Daily. “Middle-aged adults may be at a decision-making sweet spot," say the authors. "They have substantial practical experience and have not yet suffered significant declines in fluid intelligence."