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As we age, we experience biological and cognitive changes, as well as changes in the emotions we experience. This in turn affects the decisions we make. Only recently has scientific attention turned to the profound effects of aging on decision making. As baby-boomers age and demographics shift, this attention will undoubtedly intensify. The Aging Institute at LABEL focuses on fundamental decision-making problems and aims to assess how preferences change over time and how these changes relate to the aging brain. By comparing behavior and brain activity in young adults and older adults, it is possible to quantify the behavioral differences across ages and to pinpoint the underlying aging factors.
The Los Angeles Behavioral Economics Laboratory (LABEL) is a research center dedicated to experimental research on economic decision-making and strategic interactions with a special emphasis on the collection of "non choice" data. These include reaction times, data documenting which information is attended to prior to making decisions, electrodermal responses in conjunction to decisions, or brain activity at the time of decisions.
Experimental Economics has proved useful over the years to test economic theories, disentangle them, and help build new theories capable of better explaining observed behavior. However, it is still often difficult to reveal the motivations for choices in many settings. Non choice data offer an opportunity to understand behavior further as they inform researchers on the underlying mechanisms of decision-making. Importantly, this extra knowledge can then be used to build theoretical models of behavior that explain and predict observed choices in the lab and in the field.