Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

Front Aging Neurosci

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience

PubMed ID


DOI of Published Version


Start Page


End Page



Older adults are frequently the targets of scams and deception, with millions of individuals being affected each year in the United States alone. Previous research has shown that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) may play a role in vulnerability to fraud. The current study examined brain activation patterns in relation to susceptibility to scams and fraud using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Twenty-eight healthy, community-dwelling older adults were subdivided into groups of impaired and unimpaired decision makers as determined by their performance on the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). While in the scanner, the participants viewed advertisements that were created directly from cases deemed deceptive by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). We then obtained behavioral measures involving comprehension of claims and purchase intention of the product in each advertisement. Contrasts show brain activity in the vmPFC was less correlated with purchase intention in impaired vs. unimpaired older adult decision makers. Our results have important implications for both future research and recognizing the possible causes of fraud susceptibility among older adults.


OAfund, MRI, decision making, aging, frontal lobe, fraud

Granting or Sponsoring Agency

DANA Foundation Program in Brain and Immuno-Imaging grant to NLD.

Journal Article Version

Version of Record

Published Article/Book Citation

Koestner BP, Hedgcock W, Halfmann K and Denburg NL (2016) The Role of the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex in Purchase Intent Among Older Adults. Front. Aging Neurosci. 8:189. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2016.00189


Copyright © 2016 Koestner, Hedgcock, Halfmann and Denburg

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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