Improving decision-making competence and associated quality of life across the lifespan

Project leader:

Wändi Bruine de Bruin 
Professor of Behavioural Decision Making,
Co-Director of the Centre for Decision Research

Project period: 

1 Sept 2013 – 31 Aug 2017

Project summary:

Across the life span, people face decisions about their health, finances and well-being. People of all ages therefore need good decision-making competence, referring to the ability to avoid decision biases and to obtain desired life outcomes. Research on aging and decision-making competence is still relatively sparse. However, it has been suggested that aging-related declines in fluid cognitive abilities start around age 20, potentially threatening the quality of older adults’ decisions. However, decision making is not a purely cognitive exercise. This project aims to understand which (other) skills are relevant to the development of decision-making competence and associated quality of life across the life span, and to inform interventions that help people of all ages to make better decisions. 

For further information, read this article on The Conversation.


Copies of publications are available upon request from Wändi Bruine de Bruin 

  1. Bruine de Bruin, W., Dombrovski, A.Y., Parker, A.M., Szanto, K. (in press). Late life depression, suicidal ideation, and attempted suicide: The role of individual differences in maximizing, regret, and negative decision outcomes. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. [abstract]
  2. Bruine de Bruin, W., Strough, J., & Parker, A.M. (2014). Getting older isn’t all that bad: Better decisions and coping when facing ’sunk costs.’ Psychology and Aging, 29, 642-647[abstract] [PDF]
  3. Bruine de Bruin, W., Parker, A.M., & Fischhoff, B. (2015). Individual differences in decision-making competence across the lifespan. In E.A. Wilhelms, & V.F. Reyna (Eds.), Neuroeconomics, Judgment, and Decision Making. New York, NY: Psychology Press (pp. 219-236).
  4. Bruine de Bruin, W., McNair, S., Taylor, A.L., Summers, B., & Strough, J. (2015). 'Thinking about numbers is not my idea of fun': Need for cognition mediates age differences in numeracy performance. Medical Decision Making. 35, 22-26. [abstract]
  5. Delaney, R., Strough, J., Bruine de Bruin, W., & Parker, A. (2015). Variations in decision-making profiles by age and gender: A cluster-analytic approach. Personality and Individual Differences, 85, 19-24. [abstract]
  6. Parker, A.M., Bruine de Bruin, W., & Fischhoff, B. (2015). Negative decision outcomes are more common among people with lower decision-making competence: An item-level analysis of the Decision Outcome Inventory (DOI). Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1-7. [abstract] [PDF]
  7. Strough, J., Bruine de Bruin, W., & Peters, E. (2015). New perspectives on motivating better decisions in older adults. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1-10. [abstract] [PDF]
  8. Strough, J., Parker, A.M., & Bruine de Bruin, W. (2015).  Understanding life-span developmental changes in decision-making competence. In T. Hess, J. Strough, & C. Löckenhoff (Eds.) Aging and decision making: Empirical and applied perspectives. London UK: Elsevier Academic Press (pp. 235-257).
  9. Szanto, K., Bruine de Bruin, W., Parker, A.M., Hallquist, M.N., Vanyukov, P.M., & Dombrovski, A.Y. (in press). Decision-making competence and attempted suicide. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

This research was supported by Marie Curie Career Integration Grant 618522 within the 7th European Community Framework Programme.


Wändi Bruine de Bruin presenting at the APS pre-conference workshop in May 2016. The workshop focused on advancing discussions in emerging areas of psychological science in aging. 



Project website at the European Commission:


Wändi Bruine de Bruin
University Leadership Chair in Behavioural Decision Making
Co-Director of the Centre for Decision Research (CDR)
Leeds University Business School
Maurice Keyworth Building
Leeds, United Kingdom, LS2 9JT
Phone: 0113 343 8839