The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Nation, World

August 17, 2012

Why seniors may be more vulnerable to scams

(Continued)

“Behaviorally, they fail the test to the greatest extent,” says Natalie Denburg, assistant professor in neurology who devised the ad tests. “They believe the ads the most, and they demonstrate the highest purchase intention. Taken together, it makes them the most vulnerable to being deceived."

Process begins at age 60

The vulnerability begins as you get older. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex begins to deteriorate as people reach age 60 and older, although the onset and the pace of deterioration varies, according to Daniel Tranel, neurology and psychology professor at Iowa and corresponding author on the paper. He thinks the finding will enable doctors, caregivers, and relatives to be more understanding of decision making by the elderly.

“And maybe protective,” Tranel said. “Instead of saying, ‘How would you do something silly and transparently stupid,’ people may have a better appreciation of the fact that older people have lost the biological mechanism that allows them to see the disadvantageous nature of their decisions.”

Story provided by ConsumerAffairs.

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