Aging and information seeking: Patterns in sampling of sucrose solutions

N. Shapira, T. Kushnir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This study intended to explore age-related strategies of information seeking and decision making, utilizing a content-free task. Better understanding of skills and motives of aged behavior might contribute to more effective intervention for their welfare. Young and old female participants were engaged in detecting the presence of sucrose in solutions of various concentrations. They also reported the number of samplings required for an affirmative or negative decision about each test solution. Compared to young people, the aged sampled more (repetitions) and had a higher detection threshold (intensity of stimulus), indicating higher requirements for information. It was assumed that the sampling curve would be bell-shaped and peak at the point of least certainty about the presence or absence of sucrose (probability of detection=0.5). Such curve was observed only among the young females when the samplings across concentrations were pooled according to probability of detection. In the aged, the sampling curve was rather monotonic, indicating low utility and interchangeability of information resources. This was attributed to a preset sampling strategy, labeled as over-resourcing, considering the higher baseline and low utility. The implications of such strategy to experimental procedures and every day life were discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-112
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes


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