Adult age differences in risk perception and risk taking

Julia Nolte, Yaniv Hanoch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Research on self-reported risk perception and risk taking suggests age-related decrements in risk preference, with older adults less likely to engage in general and domain-specific risk taking (i.e., in financial, health-related, ethical, career, and leisure contexts). Data relating to social risks, however, are inconsistent. With respect to behavioral risk-taking tasks, age-related differences vary depending on task characteristics and older adults' cognitive capacities. Specifically, older adults are less good at learning to take advantageous risks and take fewer risks when faced with gains, especially financial and mortality-based ones. We contextualize these trends by referencing relevant theoretical frameworks (see Frey et al., 2021) and by drawing on the COVID-19 pandemic to illustrate recent examples of age-related differences in real-life risk responses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101746
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
Early online date17 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the CC BY license


  • Hazard
  • Lifespan
  • Benefit
  • Risk perception
  • Risk taking


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