Learning and decision-making across the human lifespan: From latent state spaces to social influences
Freie Universität Berlin and Department of Psychology, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada
Learning and decision-making abilities change substantially across the human lifespan. However, the underlying computational and neurobiological mechanisms are poorly understood. In this talk I will present data from recent studies on age differences in learning and decision-making from childhood to old age. I will start with work that suggests that ageing-related deficits in goal-directed learning result from deficient representations of latent task structures. I will then talk about how children and older adults learn under uncertainty and how they adapt their beliefs to changes in the environment. Finally, I will show data on social influences on learning and decision-making and how these influences change across development. I will conclude with theoretical considerations on the mechanisms underlying lifespan developmental changes in learning and provide an outlook on potential applications of this research in the educational and health sector.