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Deciphering Age Differences in Experience-Based Decision-Making: The Role of Sleep

Authors Peng XR, Liu YR, Fan DQ, Lei X, Liu QY, Yu J

Received 18 July 2020

Accepted for publication 3 September 2020

Published 29 September 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 679—691


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Steven A Shea

Xue-Rui Peng,1 Yun-Rui Liu,1,2 Dong-Qiong Fan,1,3 Xu Lei,1 Quan-Ying Liu,4 Jing Yu1,5

1Faculty of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing, People’s Republic of China; 2Department for Cognitive and Decision Sciences, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland; 3School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering, Beihang University, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; 4Department of Biomedical Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China; 5Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Jing Yu
Faculty of Psychology, Southwest University, Tiansheng Road, Beibei District, Chongqing 400715, People’s Republic of China
Quan-Ying Liu
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology, 1088 Xueyuan Avenue, Shenzhen 518055, People’s Republic of China

Objective: Recent studies have demonstrated that sleep not only facilitates memory consolidation but also benefits more complex cognitive skills such as decision-making in young adults. Older adults use different decision strategies compared with young adults, which leaves the role of sleep in older adults’ decision-making unclear. We investigated the age-by-sleep effect on decision-making.
Methods: We recruited 67 young adults (ages 18 to 29 years) and 66 older adults (ages 60 to 79 years) and randomly assigned them into the “sleep” or “wake” study condition. They were given a modified Iowa gambling task to perform before and after a 12-hour interval with sleep or wakefulness.
Results: Using the typical model-free analysis, we found that young adults’ between-session performance improved greater than that of older adults regardless of the sleep/wake condition. Furthermore, older adults with longer total sleep time showed a greater improvement in the selection of one “good” deck. To further examine the sleep effect on age-related differences in cognitive processes underlying decision-making, we conducted computational modelling. This more fine-grained analysis revealed that sleep improved feedback sensitivity for both young and older adults while it increased loss aversion for older adults but not for young adults.
Conclusion: These findings indicate that sleep promotes learning-based decision-making performance via facilitating value representation, and such modulation is distinct in young compared to older adults.

Keywords: decision-making, the Iowa gambling task, sleep, aging, computational modelling

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