This paper critiques Brand and Markowitsch’s viewpoint that the decision-making difficulties experienced by older adults during laboratory-based gambling tasks can be attributed to deficits in executive control and feedback operations. While Brand and Markowitsch provide an important platform with which to understand the role of these specific component processes, there are other additional mechanisms that also seem likely to be important when understanding gambling decisions in late adulthood. We focus on several of these mechanisms, and in particular, the manner in which decision-relevant information is received, the role of changes in emotion and motivation (with particular reference to Socioemotional Selectivity Theory), and changes in autobiographical memory that may affect understanding how decision-making during gambling occurs in late adulthood. By building on the cognitive-based and emotion-based processes that Brand and Markowitsch mention as important in decision-making by the aged, our critique highlights avenues for future research in this important area.

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