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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...
November 10, 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...
November 10, 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...
November 3, 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...
October 6, 2016: Psychology and Aging
Han-Jung Ko, Karen Hooker, G John Geldhof, Dan P McAdams
Research shows midlife adults consistently report higher purpose in life (PIL) than older adults. However, less is known about the changes in PIL during the transition from midlife to older adulthood. This study examined 5-year changes of PIL among late-midlife adults in the Foley Longitudinal Study of Adulthood (n = 163, MAge = 56.37). Results showed that most midlife adults reported higher-stable PIL whereas some of them showed lower-stable PIL, with trait conscientiousness and race being significant predictors of PIL...
September 29, 2016: Psychology and Aging
Loreen Mamerow, Renato Frey, Rui Mata
Aging has long been thought to be associated with changes in risk-taking propensity. But do different measures converge in showing similar age-related patterns? We conducted a study to investigate the convergent validity of different self-report and behavioral assessments of risk taking across adulthood (N = 902). Individuals between 18 and 90 years of age answered a self-report item and completed 2 incentivized behavioral tasks: a gambles task and the Balloon Analogue Risk Task. Our results indicate that although all measures show some patterns indicative of an age reduction in risk taking, the correlations between measures are small...
September 29, 2016: Psychology and Aging
Mona Diegelmann, Oliver K Schilling, Hans-Werner Wahl
This article examines the end-of-life development of depressive symptoms and characterizes prototypical groups following the same depressive symptoms development. We modeled time-to-death-related trajectories of depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale), applying a latent class growth analysis to deceased older adults from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (Waves 1 to 5; NTime 1 (T1) = 2,219; MAge(T1) = 73.9 years, SDAge(T1) = 9.4 years; 51% male, 1% non-White). Four prototypical trajectories of depressive symptoms were identified at the end of life: a stably nondepressed group (31...
September 29, 2016: Psychology and Aging
Nicola Mammarella, Alberto Di Domenico, Rocco Palumbo, Beth Fairfield
Numerous studies have reported age-related differences in memory for emotional information. One explanation places emphasis on an emotion processing preference in older adults that reflects their socioemotional self-relevant goals. Here, we evaluate the degree to which this preference in memory may be modulated by color. In 2 experiments, younger and older adults were asked to study a series of affective words (Experiment 1) or affective pictures (Experiment 2) and then presented with an immediate yes/no memory recognition task...
September 15, 2016: Psychology and Aging
Pauline Narme, Isabelle Peretz, Marie-Laure Strub, Anne-Marie Ergis
Normal aging affects explicit memory while leaving implicit memory relatively spared. Normal aging also modifies how emotions are processed and experienced, with increasing evidence that older adults (OAs) focus more on positive information than younger adults (YAs). The aim of the present study was to investigate how age-related changes in emotion processing influence explicit and implicit memory. We used emotional melodies that differed in terms of valence (positive or negative) and arousal (high or low)...
September 5, 2016: Psychology and Aging
Angela Radulescu, Reka Daniel, Yael Niv
Reinforcement learning (RL) in complex environments relies on selective attention to uncover those aspects of the environment that are most predictive of reward. Whereas previous work has focused on age-related changes in RL, it is not known whether older adults learn differently from younger adults when selective attention is required. In 2 experiments, we examined how aging affects the interaction between RL and selective attention. Younger and older adults performed a learning task in which only 1 stimulus dimension was relevant to predicting reward, and within it, 1 "target" feature was the most rewarding...
September 5, 2016: Psychology and Aging
Beatrice G Kuhlmann, Dayna R Touron
The present study examined how the presentation format of the study list influences younger and older adults' semantic clustering. Spontaneous clustering did not differ between age groups or between an individual-words (presentation of individual study words in consecution) and a whole-list (presentation of the whole study list at once for the same total duration) presentation format in 132 younger (18-30 years, M = 19.7) and 120 older (60-84 years, M = 69.5) adults. However, after instructions to use semantic clustering (second list) age-related differences in recall magnified, indicating a utilization deficiency, and both age groups achieved higher recall in the whole-list than in the individual-words format...
September 5, 2016: Psychology and Aging
Kathrin Zimmermann, Claudia C von Bastian, Christina Röcke, Mike Martin, Anne Eschen
A substantial part of age-related episodic memory decline has been attributed to the decreasing ability of older adults to encode and retrieve associations among simultaneously processed information units from long-term memory. In addition, this ability seems to share unique variance with reasoning. In this study, we therefore examined whether process-based training of the ability to learn and remember associations has the potential to induce transfer effects to untrained episodic memory and reasoning tasks in healthy older adults (60-75 years)...
November 2016: Psychology and Aging
Christopher N Wahlheim, Lauren L Richmond, Mark J Huff, Ian G Dobbins
In a recent experiment using dual-list free recall of unrelated word lists, C. N. Wahlheim and M. J. Huff (2015) found that relative to younger adults, older adults showed: (a) impaired recollection of temporal context, (b) a broader pattern of retrieval initiation when recalling from 2 lists, and (c) more intrusions when selectively recalling from 1 of 2 lists. These findings showed older adults' impaired ability to use controlled retrieval to avoid proactive and retroactive interference. In the present investigation, 3 studies examined whether differences in retrieval initiation patterns were unique to aging and whether they were governed by the control mechanisms that underlie individuals' susceptibility to intrusions...
November 2016: Psychology and Aging
Stephen P Badham, Marie Poirier, Navina Gandhi, Anna Hadjivassiliou, Elizabeth A Maylor
From the perspective of memory-as-discrimination, whether a cue leads to correct retrieval simultaneously depends on the cue's relationship to (a) the memory target and (b) the other retrieval candidates. A corollary of the view is that increasing encoding-retrieval match may only help memory if it improves the cue's capacity to discriminate the target from competitors. Here, age differences in this discrimination process were assessed by manipulating the overlap between cues present at encoding and retrieval orthogonally with cue-target distinctiveness...
November 2016: Psychology and Aging
Kendra L Seaman, Marissa A Gorlick, Kruti M Vekaria, Ming Hsu, David H Zald, Gregory R Samanez-Larkin
Although research on aging and decision making continues to grow, the majority of studies examine decisions made to maximize monetary earnings or points. It is not clear whether these results generalize to other types of rewards. To investigate this, we examined adult age differences in 92 healthy participants aged 22 to 83. Participants completed 9 hypothetical discounting tasks, which included 3 types of discounting factors (time, probability, effort) across 3 reward domains (monetary, social, health). Participants made choices between a smaller magnitude reward with a shorter time delay/higher probability/lower level of physical effort required and a larger magnitude reward with a longer time delay/lower probability/higher level of physical effort required...
November 2016: Psychology and Aging
JoNell Strough, Wändi Bruine de Bruin, Andrew M Parker, Tara Karns, Philip Lemaster, Nipat Pichayayothin, Rebecca Delaney, Rachel Stoiko
We tested interventions to reduce "sunk-cost bias," the tendency to continue investing in failing plans even when those plans have soured and are no longer rewarding. We showed members of a national U.S. life-span panel a hypothetical scenario about a failing plan that was halfway complete. Participants were randomly assigned to an intervention to focus on how to improve the situation, an intervention to focus on thoughts and feelings, or a no-intervention control group. First, we found that the thoughts and feelings intervention reduced sunk-cost bias in decisions about project completion, as compared to the improvement intervention and the no-intervention control...
November 2016: Psychology and Aging
Christin-Melanie Vauclair, Maria Luísa Lima, Dominic Abrams, Hannah J Swift, Christopher Bratt
Psychological theories of aging highlight the importance of social context. However, very little research has distinguished empirically between older people's perception of how others in their social context perceive them (personal meta-perceptions) and the shared perceptions in society (societal meta-perceptions). Drawing on theories of intergroup relations and stereotyping and using a multilevel perspective, this article examines how well older people's perceptions of age discrimination (PAD) are predicted by (a) older people's personal meta-perceptions, (b) societal meta-perceptions, and (c) social norms of intolerance toward age prejudice...
November 2016: Psychology and Aging
Salom M Teshale, Margie E Lachman
Past work on selective optimization and compensation (SOC) has focused on between-persons differences and its relationship with global well-being. However, less work examines within-person SOC variation. This study examined whether variation over 7 days in everyday SOC was associated with happiness in a sample of 145 adults ages 22-94. Age differences in this relationship, the moderating effects of health, and lagged effects were also examined. On days in which middle-age and older adults and individuals with lower health used more SOC, they also reported greater happiness...
November 2016: Psychology and Aging
Thomas M Hess, Brian T Smith, Neika Sharifian
Engagement in cognitively demanding activities has a positive impact on cognitive health in older adults. Previous work, however, has suggested that the costs associated with engagement increase in later life and influence motivation. We examined how subjective perceptions of these costs varied with age and influenced task engagement. The following questions were of specific interest: (a) Are there age differences in subjective perceptions of cognitive costs? (b) What is the impact of these perceptions on engagement? We tested 39 older (ages 65-84) and 37 younger (20-42) adults on a working memory task...
November 2016: Psychology and Aging
Susan T Charles, Jacqueline Mogle, Emily J Urban, David M Almeida
Across midlife and into old age, older adults often report lower levels of negative affect and similar if not higher levels of positive affect than relatively younger adults. Researchers have offered a simple explanation for this result: Age is related to reductions in stressors and increases in pleasurable activities that result in higher levels of well-being. The current study examines subjective reports of emotional experience assessed across 8 days in a large sample of adults (N = 2,022) ranging from 35 to 84 years old...
November 2016: Psychology and Aging
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