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Psychology and Aging

Christopher N Wahlheim, B Hunter Ball, Lauren L Richmond
The present experiment examined adult age differences in the production and monitoring of responses in dual-list free recall. Younger and older adults studied 2 lists of unrelated words and were instructed to recall from List 1, List 2, or List 1 and List 2. An externalized free recall procedure required participants to: (a) report all responses that came to mind while recalling from specific lists, (b) classify responses as correct or incorrect, and (c) provide confidence judgments for their accuracy classifications...
February 16, 2017: Psychology and Aging
Johanna Drewelies, Jenny Wagner, Clemens Tesch-Römer, Jutta Heckhausen, Denis Gerstorf
Perceived control is a key component of successful aging and may serve as a protective factor against age-related declines in central domains of functioning. However, it is a largely open question whether and how perceived control changes from midadulthood to very old age and how such change is shaped by health and social contexts. To examine these questions, we apply growth models to up to 15-year 4-wave longitudinal data from the German Ageing Survey (DEAS; N = 10,081; aged 40-85 years at baseline; 49% women)...
February 2017: Psychology and Aging
Jeanine M Parisi, Alden L Gross, Michael Marsiske, Sherry L Willis, George W Rebok
We examined two facets of control beliefs and cognition over 10 years within the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly study. Intellectual Self-Efficacy decreased (β = -0.32 units/year; SE = 0.03) and Concern About Intellectual Aging increased (β = 0.26 units/year; SE = 0.02) over time, with older age being the only predictor of increases in Concern About Intellectual Aging. Although baseline cognitive performance was related to control beliefs over time, the reverse was not supported...
February 2017: Psychology and Aging
Rebecca E Rhodes, Benjamin Katz
The present research explores how the trajectory of learning on a working memory task changes throughout the life span, and whether gains in working memory performance are exclusively a question of initial working memory capacity (WMC) or whether age exerts an independent effect. In a large, cross-sectional study of younger, middle-aged, and older adults, we examined learning on a widely used working memory task-the dual n-back task-over 20 sessions of practice. We found that, while all age groups improved on the task, older adults demonstrated less improvement on the task, and also reached a lower asymptotic maximum performance than younger adults...
February 2017: Psychology and Aging
Huamao Peng, Yue Gao, Xiaofei Mao
To explore the roles of visual function and cognitive load in aging of inhibition, the present study adopted a 2 (visual perceptual stress: noise, nonnoise) × 2 (cognitive load: low, high) × 2 (age: young, old) mixed design. The Stroop task was adopted to measure inhibition. The task presentation was masked with Gaussian noise according to the visual function of each individual in order to match visual perceptual stress between age groups. The results indicated that age differences in the Stroop effect were influenced by visual function and cognitive load...
February 2017: Psychology and Aging
Tilo Strobach, Torsten Schubert
The present study investigated the ability of older adults in contrast to younger adults to automatize new choice tasks as a result of simultaneous dual-task practice. Importantly, the study was carried out in conditions optimal for dual-task performance and task automatization. Despite this, the results of detailed analyses were not consistent with the assumption that either older or younger adults are able to automatize new choice tasks; neither group showed evidence of automatization. Even in analyses focusing on high dual-task performers (i...
February 2017: Psychology and Aging
Andrew J Aschenbrenner, David A Balota
In standard attentional control tasks, interference effects are reduced following incongruent trials compared to congruent trials, a phenomenon known as the congruency sequence effect (CSE). Typical explanations of this effect suggest the CSE is due to changes in levels of control across adjacent trials. This interpretation has been questioned by the finding that older adults, individuals with impaired attentional control systems, have been shown to produce larger CSEs in the Stroop task compared with younger adult controls...
February 2017: Psychology and Aging
Xuan Li, Philip A Allen, Mei-Ching Lien, Naohide Yamamoto
Previous studies on perceptual learning, acquiring a new skill through practice, appear to stimulate brain plasticity and enhance performance (Fiorentini & Berardi, 1981). The present study aimed to determine (a) whether perceptual learning can be used to compensate for age-related declines in perceptual abilities, and (b) whether the effect of perceptual learning can be transferred to untrained stimuli and subsequently improve capacity of visual working memory (VWM). We tested both healthy younger and older adults in a 3-day training session using an orientation discrimination task...
February 2017: Psychology and Aging
Ute Kunzmann, Margund Rohr, Cornelia Wieck, Cathleen Kappes, Carsten Wrosch
This study investigated age differences in anger and sadness in a sample of 82 younger (Mage = 26, SDage = 4.05) and 80 older (Mage = 70, SDage = 3.95) adults. Participants were instructed to first relive a personal memory that was characterized by either anger or sadness and to subsequently think aloud about this memory. Across different emotional response systems (i.e., subjective feelings, verbal expressions, facial behaviors, physiological arousal), older adults reacted with less anger than did their younger counterparts, whereas age differences in sadness were less pronounced...
February 2017: Psychology and Aging
Jessica A Cooper, Nathaniel J Blanco, W Todd Maddox
We examined framing effects on exploratory decision-making. In Experiment 1 we tested older and younger adults in two decision-making tasks separated by one week, finding that older adults' decision-making performance was preserved when maximizing gains, but it declined when minimizing losses. Computational modeling indicates that younger adults in both conditions, and older adults in gains maximization, utilized a decreasing threshold strategy (which is optimal), but older adults in losses were better fit by a fixed-probability model of exploration...
February 2017: Psychology and Aging
Aleea L Devitt, Lynette Tippett, Daniel L Schacter, Donna Rose Addis
Because of its reconstructive nature, autobiographical memory (AM) is subject to a range of distortions. One distortion involves the erroneous incorporation of features from one episodic memory into another, forming what are known as memory conjunction errors. Healthy aging has been associated with an enhanced susceptibility to conjunction errors for laboratory stimuli, yet it is unclear whether these findings translate to the autobiographical domain. We investigated the impact of aging on vulnerability to AM conjunction errors, and explored potential cognitive processes underlying the formation of these errors...
December 2016: Psychology and Aging
Corinna E Löckenhoff, Joshua L Rutt, Gregory R Samanez-Larkin, Ted O'Donoghue, Valerie F Reyna, Barbara Ganzel
Previous research has found age differences in intertemporal choices that involve trade-offs among events or outcomes that occur at different points in time, but these findings were mostly limited to hypothetical financial and consumer choices. We examined whether age effects extend to unpleasant physical experiences that elicit states of dread which lead participants to speed up the outcomes just to get them over with. We asked participants of different ages to choose among electrical shocks that varied in timing and intensity...
December 2016: Psychology and Aging
Mathew A Harris, Caroline E Brett, Wendy Johnson, Ian J Deary
There is evidence for differential stability in personality trait differences, even over decades. The authors used data from a sample of the Scottish Mental Survey, 1947 to study personality stability from childhood to older age. The 6-Day Sample (N = 1,208) were rated on six personality characteristics by their teachers at around age 14. In 2012, the authors traced as many of these participants as possible and invited them to take part in a follow-up study. Those who agreed (N = 174) completed a questionnaire booklet at age 77 years, which included rating themselves and asking someone who knew them well to rate them on the same 6 characteristics on which they were rated in adolescence...
December 2016: Psychology and Aging
Nathan W Hudson, Richard E Lucas, M Brent Donnellan
A large body of previous research suggests that people's global evaluations of their well-being tend to increase as a function of age. Fewer studies, however, have examined the extent to which people's in vivo experiences of well-being (e.g., felt emotions) vary as a function of age-and the existing findings are mixed. The present study used an approximately nationally representative sample of more than 2,500 Germans to evaluate developmental patterns in both experiential and global well-being using cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses...
December 2016: Psychology and Aging
Cassandra L Brown, Annie Robitaille, Elizabeth M Zelinski, Roger A Dixon, Scott M Hofer, Andrea M Piccinin
Social activity is 1 aspect of an active lifestyle and some evidence indicates it is related to preserved cognitive function in older adulthood. However, the potential mechanisms underlying this association remain unclear. We investigate 4 potential mediational pathways through which social activity may relate to cognitive performance. A multilevel structural equation modeling approach to mediation was used to investigate whether cognitive activity, physical activity, depressive symptoms, and vascular health conditions mediate the association between social activity and cognitive function in older adults...
December 2016: Psychology and Aging
Markus Wettstein, Oliver K Schilling, Hans-Werner Wahl
Indicators of objective functioning, such as everyday competence or sensory and sensorimotor functions, typically show pronounced declines in very old age. However, less is known about how very old adults perceive their abilities across multiple domains of health and functioning and to what extent changes in perceived functioning mirror changes in objective functioning. We compared changes in perceived versus objective health and functioning indicators among very old adults (n = 124; baseline age between 87 and 97 years, M = 90...
December 2016: Psychology and Aging
Beatrice G Kuhlmann, Ute J Bayen, Katharina Meuser, Anna E Kornadt
In 2 experiments, we examined reliance on age stereotypes when reconstructing the sources of statements. Two sources presented statements (half typical for a young adult, half for an old adult). Afterward, the sources' ages-23 and 70 years-were revealed and participants completed a source-monitoring task requiring attribution of statements to the sources. Multinomial model-based analyses revealed no age-typicality effect on source memory; however, age-typicality biased source-guessing: When not remembering the source, participants predominantly guessed the source for whose age the statement was typical...
December 2016: Psychology and Aging
Yuhong V Jiang, Wilma Koutstaal, Emily L Twedell
Age-related decline is pervasive in tasks that require explicit learning and memory, but such reduced function is not universally observed in tasks involving incidental learning. It is unknown if habitual attention, involving incidental probabilistic learning, is preserved in older adults. Previous research on habitual attention investigated contextual cuing in young and older adults, yet contextual cuing relies not only on spatial attention but also on context processing. Here we isolated habitual attention from context processing in young and older adults...
December 2016: Psychology and Aging
Suvobrata Mitra, Nicola Doherty, Hayley Boulton, Elizabeth A Maylor
Physical and imagined movements show similar behavioral constraints and neurophysiological activation patterns. An inhibition mechanism is thought to suppress overt movement during motor imagery, but it does not effectively suppress autonomic or postural adjustments. Inhibitory processes and postural stability both deteriorate with age. Thus, older people's balance is potentially vulnerable to interference from postural adjustments induced by thoughts about past or future actions. Here, young and older adults stood upright and executed or imagined manual reaching movements...
December 2016: Psychology and Aging
Stephan Getzmann, Edmund Wascher
Older adults are usually more easily distracted by task-irrelevant stimuli than younger ones. In addition, there is evidence that it takes them more time to overcome a distracting event. Here, the distracting effect of irregular switches in speaker location was studied in 22 younger and 22 older adults in a speech perception task. The participants responded to target words that were presented either from a frequent location (standard trials) or a rare location (deviant trials). Behavioral performance measures, event-related brain potentials (ERPs), and EEG synchronization (intertrial coherence [ITC]) were analyzed...
December 2016: Psychology and Aging
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