Filter Publications

Publications Details

Cognitive aging and adaptive foraging behavior
Author: Mata, Rui and Wilke, Andreas and Czienskowski, Uwe
Journal: The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume: 64B
Year: 2009
Pages: 474—481

We conducted two experiments comparing younger and older adults’ ability to adjust their foraging behavior as a function of task characteristics. Participants foraged for fish in a virtual landscape and had to decide when to move between ponds so as to maximize the number of fish caught. In the first experiment, participants were left to generate their own foraging strategy, whereas in the second experiment, participants were instructed to use an incremental strategy that has been shown to produce optimal performance in this task. Our results suggest that both younger and older adults are adaptive in the sense of adjusting the parameters of their foraging strategy as a function of task characteristics. Nevertheless, older adults show overall poorer performance compared with younger adults even when instructed to use an optimal strategy.