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Keywords:

  • Aging;
  • Feedback processing;
  • Gambling;
  • ERPs;
  • Distributed source analysis

Abstract

We examined age-related differences in the spatiotemporal distribution of event-related brain potentials (ERPs) related to feedback processing in a virtual blackjack game. The behavioral data revealed that older adults were less risk seeking than younger adults both within and across trials. Age-related differences were observed in the amplitude of several ERP components (P2-FN-P3a, P3a, slow wave activity) related to feedback processing. These components were localized to the anterior and posterior cingulate, the occipital cortex, and the inferior and medial frontal cortices. The effects of aging on the ERPs ranged from 200–2,000 ms after feedback onset. Our findings indicate that aging affects the activity of a distributed neural network that underpins processing the valence and motivational significance of feedback related to risky decisions.