Decision-making tasks (for all tasks higher values mean less pronounced decision-making phenomena)
Loss Aversion (Tversky & Kahneman, 1992)
The loss aversion coefficient l measures how much people dislike losses relative to how much they like gains of the same magnitude. Greater values of ll with five separate measures using the choice titration method (CITE). Choice titration asks participants to indicate whether they are willing to play each of a number of different binary gambles with a 50% chance of winning some amount and a 50% chance of losing some amount. Each choice titration fixed the winning amount and varied the losing amount. We used three different sets of parameters, one with a smaller (1. gain amount = $6; loss amount varies from $0.5 to $7 in $0.5 increments; 14 choices) and two with larger payoffs (2. gain amount = $20; loss amount varies from $2 to $24 in $2 increments; 12 choices; and 3. gain amount = $20; loss amount varies from $2 to $25 in $3 and $5 increments; 6 choices). We calculated lambda by dividing the gain amount by the average loss amount at the switch point (where the participant switches from being willing to play the gamble to not wanting to play). These five measures were reversed so that higher values correspond to less loss aversion.
Intertemporal Choice (Weber,
Johnson, Milch, Chang, Brodscholl, & Goldstein, 2007)
Anchoring (Chapman &
Johnson, 1999; 2002; Kahneman, Ritov, & Schkade, 1999; Wilson, Houston,
& Brekke, 1996)
Cognitive tasks (for all tasks higher scores mean better performance)
Shipley’s vocabulary (Shipley, 1986): synonym vocabulary (adapted from CREATE; Czaja, Charness, Dijkstra, Fisk, Rogers, & Sharit, 2006a; Czaja, Charness, Fisk, Hertzog, Nair, Rogers, et al., 2006b)
This task measures vocabulary knowledge. In our version adapted from CREATE’s Common Core Battery of Measures (Czaja, Charness, Dijkstra, Fisk, Rogers, & Sharit, 2006; Czaja, Charness, Fisk, Hertzog, Nair, Rogers, et al., 2006), participants choose from among four words the one most similar in meaning to a target word. Participants had 10 minutes to complete up to 40 items split into two screens of 20 items each. In this and all other timed tasks, a visible timer counted down on the upper left hand corner of the computer screen. The dependent measure used for this task is number of correct responses (0-40) with no penalty for incorrect responses.
Antonym vocabulary (Salthouse, 1993)
As with the previous task, this task measures vocabulary knowledge using items developed by Salthouse (1993). In contrast to the Shipley’s synonym vocabulary, participants chose from among five words the one most nearly opposite in meaning to a target word. Participants had 5 minutes to complete up to 10 items, with a visible timer. Each item was presented on its own page but participants could choose to skip an item by selecting “no answer.” Their score was the number of correct responses (0-10) with no penalty for incorrect responses.
Information (WAIS-III) (Wechsler, 1997): (adapted from CREATE; Czaja et al., 2006a; Czaja et al., 2006b)
The WAIS-III information task consists of questions that measure general factual knowledge about events, objects, places, and people. Online administration required participants to read the questions on the computer screen and type their responses rather than being read questions by a tester and answering verbally. We used the acceptable responses for each item as listed in the CREATE manual (Czaja et al., 2006b) to determine whether an answer is correct. Because we could not prompt participants to give further details for a question, we could only code answers as correct or incorrect (i.e., we could not award partial credit). Participants answered 28 questions without time restriction. The dependent measure for this task is the number of correct responses (0-28) with no penalty for incorrect responses.
Fluid intelligence measures
Raven Progressive Matrices (RPM) (Raven, 1936)
The Raven Progressive Matrices test is one of the most popular tests of inductive and analytic reasoning based on figural content. The version we used in our study was adapted from Salthouse (2005). Test items were patterns in the form of 3x3 matrices with the bottom right cell missing. Participants have to determine the underlying rules that produce the pattern of rows and columns in the matrix and choose from among eight choice options the one that correctly completes the pattern. Participants had 10 minutes to complete up to 18 items, with a visible timer. Each item was presented on its own page but participants could choose to skip a question by selecting “no answer.” Performance on this task was measured by the number of correct responses (0-18) with no penalty for incorrect responses.
The letter sets task is another measure of inductive and reasoning ability. The version of the task used in this study was adapted from Salthouse (2005). In this task, participants are presented with 5 sets of letters (e.g., NOPQ, DEFL, ABCD, HIJK, and UVWX) and they have to find the rule that relates four of the five sets by checking the one which does not fit that rule (e.g., DEFL). Participants had 10 minutes to complete up to 15 items. Each item was presented on each own page without a “no answer” option. The score participants get on this task is the number of correct responses (0-15) with no penalty for incorrect responses.
Number Series (McArdle & Woodcock, 2009)
The number series task is yet another measure of inductive and reasoning ability with particular emphasis on quantitative reasoning. The version we have used in this study is a block adaptive test developed by McArdle and Woodcock (2009) for the HRS 2010. Each item consisted of a series of numbers (e.g., 23, 26, 30, 35, __) and participants identified the number that correctly completes the series. All participants saw the same three items in the first block. The number of items answered correctly determining the difficulty of the three items in a second block. Thus, each participant completed six items in total and a score was calculated based on which second block was completed and how many answers were correct in each block. No time restriction was provided for this task.
Cognitive Reflection Test
(Frederick, Loewenstein, & O'Donoghue, 2002)
Numeracy (Lipkus, Samsa,
& Rimer, 2001)
Spatial 1-back (Spatial Working Memory): (Spatial Speed Match) measure developed by Lumos Labs (www.lumosity.com)
N-back tasks are a family of tests that measure the capacity to update and actively manipulate working memory contents (Del Messier, Maentylae, & Bruine de Bruin, 2010). The version of the task we employed in our study tests visuo-spatial information processing. Participants were presented with three circles, two white and one blue, which formed a triangle on the screen. In each trial, they saw the same triangle but the blue circle could appear in one of the other corners of the triangle. Therefore, participants had to evaluate if the location of the blue circle was had changed from the trial before (1-back). As the accuracy level on this task was very high for young and old people, the dependent measure we used is participants’ average reaction time.
Stroop (Stroop, 1935): (Color Match) measure developed by Lumos Labs (www.lumosity.com)
The Stroop task measures cognitive flexibility and response inhibition capacity (Stroop, 1935). In the version used in this study, each trial displayed two words on the screen. The word on the left appeared in black font and indicated the name of a color (i.e., blue, green, red, etc.). The word on the right was also the name of a color and appeared in either the same color font as the semantic value of the color word on the left of the screen (e.g., congruent trials) or in a different color font (e.g., incongruent trials). Participants judged as quickly as possible if the semantic value of the word on the left corresponded to the font color of the word on the right. Participants had two minutes to finish as many trials as possible. The dependent measure was the difference in reaction times between incongruent and congruent trials, coded such that higher values correspond to better inhibition capacity.
Flanker (Eriksen & Eriksen, 1974): (Lost in Migration) measure developed by Lumos Labs (www.lumosity.com)
The Flanker task measures focus and resistance to interference. In this task, participants see a central item in a certain orientation flanked by distracting items in either the same or different orientations. In the version used in this study, participants saw five birds flying in a “V” shape. The task was to report the direction the middle bird (target) was flying by pressing one of the four arrow keys. In congruent trials, the other four birds were all flying in the same direction as the target and, in incongruent trials, they were all flying in a different direction. Participants had 45 seconds to finish as many trials as possible. The dependent measure was the difference in reaction times between incongruent and congruent trials, coded such that higher values correspond to better inhibition capacity.
Choice Reaction Time Task (ChRT) (Wilkie, Eisdorfer, Morgan, Loewenstein, & Szapocnik, 1990): (adapted from CREATE; Czaja et al., 2006a; Czaja et al., 2006b)
This task measures the speed of response to two different visual stimuli. A square appeared on either the left or the right side of the screen. Participants had to press the "Q" key with their left hand as quickly as possible when the square appeared on the left side of the screen and the "P" key with their right hand when the square appeared on the right side of the screen. Performance on this task was measured by the average reaction time for trials in which the correct key was pressed.
Simple Reaction Time Task (SRT) (Wilkie et al., 1990): (adapted from CREATE; Czaja et al., 2006a; Czaja et al., 2006b)
This task measures the speed of response to a single visual stimulus. Participants saw a square appear in the center of the computer screen. When the square appeared, they had press the “B” key with their dominant hand as quickly as possible. Performance on this task was measured by average reaction time.