ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (6): 987-993.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2020.00987

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Age differences in intertemporal choice and the mechanism underlying them

YANG Quan1, YIN Shufei1,2(), HU Xing1   

  1. 1 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Education, Hubei University, Wuhan 430062, China
    2 Beijing Key Lab of Applied Experimental Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2019-04-25 Online:2020-06-15 Published:2020-04-22
  • Contact: YIN Shufei


As the situation of population aging becomes increasingly severe, the intertemporal choice of older adults has attracted increasing attention. However, previous studies on age-related intertemporal choice have reached inconsistent conclusions. Some studies have found that older adults are more willing to wait for future gains than the young, while others suggest that older adults have the same choice preference as the young or are even more eager for short-term gains. This review attempts to explore the effects of age differences on intertemporal choice from the perspective of the processing of time representation and value representation of the elderly. It further elaborates on the impact of cognitive, motivational and emotional factors on this processing so as to clarify the discrepancies in current studies of age-related changes in intertemporal choice.

Key words: intertemporal choice, age differences, life goal, temporal representation, value representation

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