Lifespan psychology module 8.2- 2010


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Lifespan psychology module 8.2- 2010

  1. 1. Chapter 8: Late Adulthood Module 8.2 Cognitive Development in Late Adulthood
  2. 2. Cognition in Late Adulthood <ul><li>Researchers no longer see cognitive abilities of older people as inevitably declining </li></ul><ul><li>Overall intellectual ability and specific cognitive skills, such as memory and problem solving, are more likely to remain strong. In fact, with the appropriate practice and exposure to certain kinds of environmental stimuli, cognitive skills can actually improve. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Recent Conclusions about Nature of Intelligence in Older People <ul><li>Schaie = Sequential methods </li></ul><ul><li>Some abilities gradually decline; others stay relatively steady </li></ul><ul><li>No uniform pattern of age-related changes across all intellectual abilities </li></ul><ul><li>Acquired strategies remains steady and may improve </li></ul>
  4. 4. Fluid and Crystal Intelligence <ul><li>Some abilities (fluid intelligence) decline, starting at age 25 </li></ul><ul><li>Other abilities (crystallized intelligence) stay steady or increase </li></ul><ul><li>For some, there were cognitive declines in all abilities by age 67, however, one-third of those in their 70’s score higher than the average young adult. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Environmental Factors <ul><li>Certain environmental and cultural factors are related to greater or lesser degrees of intellectual decline </li></ul><ul><li>Lesser declines are associated with many factors: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Good health </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>High SES </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Involvement in an intellectually stimulating environment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Flexible personality </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Being married to a bright spouse </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Maintenance of good perceptual processing speed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Feeling self-satisfied with one's accomplishments in middle and early old age </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Exercising the Aging Brain <ul><li>Continued cognitive stimulation keeps cognitive abilities sharp </li></ul><ul><li>Training showed long-term effects </li></ul><ul><li>Engaging in some form of mental workout- consistently and continually increasing the level of difficulty-is key to success </li></ul>
  7. 7. How does memory work? A Quick Review
  8. 8. Memory Tasks
  9. 9. Memory Tasks (cont.)
  10. 10. Memory Tasks (cont.)
  11. 11. Retroactive and Proactive Interference
  12. 12. Retroactive and Proactive Interference (cont.)
  13. 13. Retroactive and Proactive Interference (cont.)
  14. 14. Retroactive and Proactive Interference (cont.)
  15. 15. How does aging affect this? <ul><li>Think about what you have just learned about memory. </li></ul><ul><li>How might aging contribute to retroactive and proactive interference? </li></ul><ul><li>What development information about aging might support your response? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Memory <ul><li>Memory losses occur primarily to episodic memory , which relates to specific life experiences. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Semantic memories (general knowledge and facts) and implicit memories (memories about which people are not consciously aware) are largely unaffected by age. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Short-term memory declines gradually until age 70, when it becomes more pronounced. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information presented quickly and verbally is forgotten sooner. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New information is more difficult to recall perhaps because it is not processed as efficiently. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. An Opposing View…Salthouse <ul><li>Rate of true, underlying cognitive decline in late adulthood is unaffected by mental exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Some people—the kind who have consistently engaged throughout their lives in high levels of mental activity such as completing crossword puzzles—enter late adulthood with a “cognitive reserve ” </li></ul>
  18. 18. An Opposing View…Salthouse <ul><li>This cognitive reserve allows them to continue to perform at relatively high mental levels, even though underlying declines are actually happening. </li></ul><ul><li>His hypothesis is controversial, though, and most developmentalists accept the hypothesis that mental exercise is beneficial </li></ul>
  19. 19. Autobiographical Memory <ul><li>AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORY - memories of information about one's own life , frequently follow the Pollyanna principle, in which pleasant memories are more likely to be recalled than unpleasant memories. </li></ul><ul><li>People recall material that &quot;fits&quot; their current self-view. </li></ul><ul><li>Particular periods of life are remembered more easily than others. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>70-year-olds recall their 20s and 30s best. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>50-year-olds recall their teenage years and their 20s best. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Remembrances of Things Past
  21. 21. Explaining Memory Changes in Old Age <ul><li>Explanations for apparent changes in memory among older people tend to focus on three main categories </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental factors </li></ul><ul><li>Information processing deficits </li></ul><ul><li>Biological factors </li></ul>
  22. 22. Environmental Factors <ul><li>Certain environmental and cultural factors are related to greater or lesser degrees of intellectual decline </li></ul><ul><li>Lesser declines are associated with many factors </li></ul>
  23. 23. Information-Processing Deficits <ul><li>Inability to inhibit irrelevant information and thoughts declines </li></ul><ul><li>Speed of processing declines </li></ul><ul><li>Attention declines </li></ul><ul><li>Less efficient retrieval methods </li></ul>
  24. 24. Biological Factors <ul><li>Brain and body deterioration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Especially frontal lobes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Continuation of education in old age </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can improve cognitive skills </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. It’s Never Too Late… <ul><li>Popularity of programs such as Elderhostel is part of a growing trend among older people </li></ul><ul><li>Retired people have time to pursue further education </li></ul><ul><li>Many public colleges encourage senior citizens to enroll in classes by providing them with free tuition </li></ul><ul><li>Older adults often have no trouble maintaining their standing in rigorous college classes </li></ul><ul><li>Professors and other students generally find presence of older people real educational benefit </li></ul>