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Age Differences in Deliberate Ignorance

Aufsätze referiert extern - Web of Science

Ralph Hertwig, Jan K. Woike, Jürgen Schupp

In: Psychology and Aging 36 (2021), 4, S. 407-414


People sometimes choose to remain ignorant, even when information comes at low marginal costs and promises high utility. To investigate whether older adults enlist deliberate ignorance more than younger adults, potentially as an emotion-regulation tool, we presented a representative sample of 1,910 residents of Germany with 13 scenarios in which knowledge could result in substantial gains or losses. The strongest correlate of deliberate ignorance was indeed age. Openness to experience was negatively correlated with deliberate ignorance; risk preference did not and neuroticism did not consistently predict it. Findings suggest a possible positivity effect in the decision to access new but ambiguous information.

Jürgen Schupp

Senior Research Fellow in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

Keywords: deliberate ignorance, uncertainty, emotion regulation, positivity effect, aging
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