Article abstract

Nature Neuroscience 10, 787 - 791 (2007)
Published online: 29 April 2007 | Corrected online: 13 August 2007 | doi:10.1038/nn1894

There is a Corrigendum (September 2007) associated with this Article.

Anticipation of monetary gain but not loss in healthy older adults

Gregory R Samanez-Larkin1, Sasha E B Gibbs1,2, Kabir Khanna1, Lisbeth Nielsen3, Laura L Carstensen1,4 & Brian Knutson1,5

Although global declines in structure have been documented in the aging human brain, little is known about the functional integrity of the striatum and prefrontal cortex in older adults during incentive processing. We used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging to determine whether younger and older adults differed in both self-reported and neural responsiveness to anticipated monetary gains and losses. The present study provides evidence for intact striatal and insular activation during gain anticipation with age, but shows a relative reduction in activation during loss anticipation. These findings suggest that there is an asymmetry in the processing of gains and losses in older adults that may have implications for decision-making.

  1. Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Jordan Hall, Building 420, Stanford, California 94305-2130, USA.
  2. Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California Berkeley, 132 Barker Hall, Berkeley, California 94720-3190, USA.
  3. National Institute on Aging and National Institutes of Health, 7201 Wisconsin Avenue, #533, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-9205, USA.
  4. Stanford Center on Longevity, Encina Hall, 616 Serra Street, Stanford, California 94305-6055, USA.
  5. Neuroscience Institute, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

Correspondence to: Gregory R Samanez-Larkin1 e-mail: