Optimistic Update Bias increases in Older Age
In 2013, R. Chowdhury, T. Sharot, T. Wolfe, E. Düzel and R. J. Dolan published a paper, "Optimistic update bias increases in older age."
Healthy older adults report greater well-being and life satisfaction than their younger counterparts. One potential explanation for this is enhanced optimism.
The team "tested the influence of age on optimistic and pessimistic beliefs about the future and the associated structural neural correlates."
They demonstrated "an age-related reduction in updating beliefs when older adults are faced with undesirable, but not desirable, information about negative events. This greater ‘update bias’ in older age persisted even after controlling for a variety of variables including subjective rating scales and poorer overall memory. A structural brain correlate of this greater ‘update bias’ was evident in greater grey matter volume in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex in older but not in young adults."
They believe they "show a greater update bias in healthy older age."
"The link between this bias and relative volume of the ACC suggests a shared mechanism with an age-related positivity bias. Older adults frequently have to make important decisions relating to personal, health and financial issues. Our findings have wider behavioural implications in these contexts because an enhanced optimistic update bias may skew such real-world decision-making."