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Tentori, K., Osherson, D., Hasher, L., & May, C. (2001). Wisdom & aging: Irrational preferences by college students but not older adults. Cognition, 81, B87-B96.


A decision-maker is "irregular" if she would choose B from {A, B, C} but not from {A, B} (for example, preferring vanilla ice cream in a choice between vanilla and chocolate, but chocolate in a choice among vanilla, chocolate and strawberry). Similarly to previous studies we observed irregular choices by college students faced with hypothetical discount cards for supermarkets. However, older adults showed no such tendency. The same pattern was observed in three separate studies. We interpret the results in terms of a choice strategy by older adults that protects them from excessive spending.

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