Sound credit scores and financial decisions despite cognitive aging

Ye Li, Jie Gao, A. Zeynep Enkavi, Lisa Zaval, Elke U. Weber, Eric J. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Age-related deterioration in cognitive ability may compromise the ability of older adults to make major financial decisions. We explore whether knowledge and expertise accumulated from past decisions can offset cognitive decline to maintain decision quality over the life span. Using a unique dataset that combines measures of cognitive ability (fluid intelligence) and of general and domain-specific knowledge (crystallized intelligence), credit report data, and other measures of decision quality, we show that domain-specific knowledge and expertise provide an alternative route for sound financial decisions. That is, cognitive aging does not spell doom for financial decision-making in domains where the decision maker has developed expertise. These results have important implications for public policy and for the design of effective interventions and decision aids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-69
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 6 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Aging
  • Cognitive ability
  • Consumer finance
  • Credit score
  • Decision-making


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