Facing the pension communication challenges of tomorrow: On aging, emotions, and artificial intelligence

For the duration of the Postdoc, the candidate wants to focus on two main research interests. The first research interest covers aging and financial decision making. Older adults experience changes in characteristics that may affect the quality of their financial decisions (Agarwal et al., 2009; Gamble et al., 2014). Specifically, age has been related to cognitive changes (less numeracy, but more experience; Bonsang & Dohmen, 2015; Li et al., 2015) and non-cognitive changes (less negative emotions, but less motivation to think about complex problems; Carstensen, 2006; Bruine de Bruin et al., 2016). However, it is not yet clear how these changes relate to each other, e.g. whether older adults can offset cognitive decline by improved emotion regulation, and what they imply with respect to adapting pension communication to the needs of older adults. This research contributes to Netspar program 1, wellbeing and welfare of older people.

The second research interest includes further research the role of trust and emotions within pension communication, specifically related to technology and artificial intelligence (AI) developments. Trust is considered one of the most critical factors for healthy company-consumer relationships (e.g. Morgan & Hunt, 1994), and is one aspect that financial service providers have been struggling with extensively, especially since the financial crisis (Hansen, 2012). As communication becomes more digital, AI offers opportunities for cost saving and advanced personalization. Adaptive personalization has been shown to work better than self-customization (Chung et al., 2016), and people are more likely to accept personalization if they trust the system (Smith et al., 2005). However, societal trust in AI is currently low and consumers have privacy concerns as technology within big data and AI advances (Banarvar, 2016). In addition, negativity spirals develop much faster than positivity ones online (Hewett et al., 2016). Other emotions such as retirement anxiety can increase the time people need to process information (Gutierrez & Hershey, 2013). It is therefore crucial to understand how emotions influence acceptance of new communication technologies. This research contributes to Netspar program 2, communication and choice.

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Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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