Chapter 24


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Chapter 24

  1. 1. Kathleen Stassen Berger Part VIII Chapter Twenty-Four Late Adulthood: Cognitive Development The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 The impaired Dementia The Optimal: New Cognitive Development Prepared by Madeleine Lacefield Tattoon, M.A. 1
  2. 2. Late Adulthood: Cognitive Development “By the end of adulthood, physical impairment, reduced perception, decreased energy, and slower reactions take an increasing toll.” Late-adulthood cognition is too complex to be captured in a brief social conversation. 2
  3. 3. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 • information-processing approach – breaking down cognition into the steps of • input (sensing) • storage (memory) • program (control process) • output • “a perspective that compares human thinking processes, by analogy, to computer analysis of data, including sensory input, connections, stored memories, and output” (Chapter 6) 3
  4. 4. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 • Sensing and Perceiving – stimuli becomes information, perceived by the mind, which must cross the sensory threshold • the person must be able to sense them, decline begins with age 4
  5. 5. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 • Attention Deficits – sensory-input problems—people miss information without realizing it – cognition depends on perception, and perception depends on sensation – one way to predict an older person’s intellect may be to measure vision, hearing, or smell 5
  6. 6. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 • Interference – is thought to be a major impediment to effective and efficient cognition in the elderly – reduced sensory input affects cognition by increasing the effects of interference 6
  7. 7. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 • Memory – storage refers to memory in the information-processing model of cognition 7
  8. 8. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 – Working memory • is the capacity to keep information in mind for a few seconds while processing it, evaluating, calculating, inferring, and so on—working memory functions as both a repository and a processor • dual-task deficit – a situation in which a person’s performance of one task is impeded by interference from the simultaneous performance of another task 8
  9. 9. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 • Long-Term Memory – the knowledge base stored in memory • the component of the information processing system in which virtually limitless amounts of information can be stored indefinitely • knowledge base – a body of knowledge in a particular area that makes it easier to master new information in that area 9
  10. 10. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 • Selective Memory – in areas not related to expertise, selective deficits in long-term memory appear 10
  11. 11. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 • Control Processes – that part of the information-processing system that regulates the analysis and flow of information—memory and retrieval strategies, selective attention, and rules or strategies for problem solving are all useful control processes 11
  12. 12. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 • Analysis – an aspect of impaired analysis is that the elderly are more likely to stick to preconceived ideas rather than consider and change their minds 12
  13. 13. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 • Retrieval – another control process, the ability to recall the name of childhood acquaintance, worsens with age 13
  14. 14. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 • Reminding People of What They Know – priming • preparation that makes it easier to perform some action— it is easier to retrieve an item from memory if we are given a clue about it beforehand – explicit memory • memory that is easy to retrieve on demand (as in a specific test), usually with words • most explicit memory involves consciously learned words, data, and concepts – implicit memory • unconscious or automatic memory that is usually stored via habits, emotional responses, routine procedures, and various sensations 14
  15. 15. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 • Brain Slowdown – the elderly react more slowly than young adults • reduced production of neurotransmitters— glutamate, acetylcholine, serotonin and dopamine —that allow a nerve impulse to jump across the synapse from one neuron to another – speed is crucial for many aspects of cognition, especially working memory, since information stays in working memory for only a short time 15
  16. 16. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 • Staying Healthy and Alert – secondary aging—illness and conditions— that affect one person but not another • secondary aging is a major reason for the remarkable variation in intellectual ability between one older person and another 16
  17. 17. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 • Ageism – cognitive decline is rooted not in the older person’s body and brain but in the surrounding social context—cultural attitudes can lead directly to age differences in cognition 17
  18. 18. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 • Stereotype Threat – does most harm when individuals internalize other people’s prejudices and react with helplessness • if the elderly fear losing their minds because they have internalized the idea that old age always bring dementia, that fear may become a stereotype threat, undermining normal thinking 18
  19. 19. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 • Ageism Among Scientist – scientists measure age differences in memory in the same way they studied memory in general—in laboratories – these factors work against older adults, who tend to perform best in familiar settings 19
  20. 20. The Usual: Information Processing After Age 65 • Beyond Ageism 20
  21. 21. The Impaired: Dementia • Loss of intellectual ability in elderly people has traditionally been called senility. • the pathological loss of brain function is known as dementia—literally, “out of mind,” referring to severely impaired judgment – dementia • irreversible loss of intellectual functioning caused by organic brain damage or disease— dementia becomes more common with age, but it is abnormal and pathological even in the very old 21
  22. 22. The Impaired: Dementia • Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) – the most common cause of dementia, characterized by gradual deterioration of memory and personality and marked by the information of plaques of beta- amyloid protein and tangles in the brain 22
  23. 23. The Impaired: Dementia • Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease – gender, ethnicity, and especially age affect a person’s odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease – women are at greater risk than men – fewer East Asians than Europeans develop the disorder – less common among those of African descent, but life expectancy is far lower in Africa than in any other continent and diagnosis of illness in late adulthood is less certain 23
  24. 24. The Impaired: Dementia • Stages: From Confusion to Death – Alzheimer’s disease usually runs through a progressive course of five identifiable stages, beginning with forgetfulness and ending in death 24
  25. 25. The Impaired: Dementia • Stages: From Confusion to Death – stage 1 – confused with normal aging – stage 2 – generalized confusion—deficits in concentration and short-term memory – stage 3 – memory loss becomes dangerous – stage 4 – full-time care – stage 5 – unresponsive, no longer talking stages take 10 to 15 years 25
  26. 26. The Impaired: Dementia • Many Strokes – the second most common cause of dementia is a stroke – repeated brain damage leads to: • vascular dementia (VaD), also called multi- infarct dementia (MID) – a form of dementia characterized by sporadic, and progressive, loss of intellectual functioning caused by repeated infarcts, or temporary obstructions of blood vessels, which prevent sufficient blood from reaching the brain 26
  27. 27. The Impaired: Dementia • Subcotical Dementias – forms of dementia that begin with impairments in motor ability (which is governed by the subcortex) and produce cognitive impairment in later stages—Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and multiple sclerosis are subcortical dementias – Parkinson’s Disease • a chronic, progressive disease that is characterized by muscle tremor and rigidity, and sometimes dementia, caused by a reduction of dopamine production in the brain 27
  28. 28. The Impaired: Dementia • Reversible Dementia – dementia caused by medication, inadequate nutrition, alcohol abuse, depression, or other mental illness can sometimes be reversed 28
  29. 29. The Impaired: Dementia • Overmedication and Undernourishment – without considering interaction, many drugs commonly taken by the elderly slow down mental processes – inadequate nutrition is connected to overmedication, many medications reduce absorption of vitamins 29
  30. 30. The Impaired: Dementia • Psychological Illness – elderly people have a lower incidence of psychological disorders—the rate of anxiety, antisocial personality disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression are lower after age 65 30
  31. 31. The Impaired: Dementia • Prevention and Treatment – there is no cure or prevention for dementia – many lifestyle factors that slow down senescence also delay the onset of dementia 31
  32. 32. The Optimal: New Cognitive Development • older people are more interested than young in the arts, in children, and in human experiences • the elderly are “social witnesses” to life • aware of interdependent of the generations • there are gains and losses at every stage of life 32
  33. 33. The Optimal: New Cognitive Development • Aesthetic Sense and Creativity – elderly people seem to gain a greater appreciation of nature and aesthetic experience 33
  34. 34. The Optimal: New Cognitive Development • The Life Review – an examination of one’s own part in life, engaged in by many elderly people 34
  35. 35. The Optimal: New Cognitive Development • Wisdom – a cognitive perspective characterized by a broad, practical, comprehensive approach to life’s problems, reflecting timeless truths rather than immediate expediency—seems to be more common in the elderly than in the young 35