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Psychology and Aging

Thomas M Hess, Claire M Growney, Allura F Lothary
The impact of aging stereotypes on task engagement was examined. Older adults (N = 144, ages 65 to 85) were exposed to primes designed to activate positive or negative stereotypes about aging, with half of the individuals in each stereotype group also assigned to a high-accountability condition to enhance motivation. Participants performed a memory-scan task comprising 2 levels of demands (memory sets of 4 or 7 items), with 2 blocks (5 min each) at each level. Systolic blood pressure recorded throughout the task was used to monitor engagement levels...
September 13, 2018: Psychology and Aging
Timothy A Salthouse
Although sensitive detection of pathological cognitive aging requires accurate information about the trajectory of normal cognitive aging, prior research has revealed inconsistent patterns of age-cognition relations with cross-sectional and longitudinal comparisons. Age trends in four cognitive domains were compared in over 5,000 adults with cross-sectional data, and in almost 1,600 adults with three-occasion longitudinal data. Quasi-longitudinal comparisons, which are similar to cross-sectional comparisons in that there is no prior test experience and are similar to longitudinal comparisons in that the participants are from the same birth cohorts, were also reported...
September 13, 2018: Psychology and Aging
Carmen Belacchi, Caterina Artuso
The aim of the current study was to investigate how the taxonomic and thematic organization of semantic long-term memory affected the recall performance of adults and older participants on a complex semantic working memory (SWM) task. Taxonomic and thematic classification are the two main systems used to organize knowledge: taxonomic information is hierarchically structured and typically independent of space and time, whereas thematically grouped concepts are horizontal and strictly context-dependent. Generally, thematic connections (more intuitive and experience-based) are formed earlier in development, while taxonomic links (more abstract and logic-based) are acquired later...
September 13, 2018: Psychology and Aging
Joanna E McHugh Power, Andrew Steptoe, Frank Kee, Brian A Lawlor
Few longitudinal studies have explored the impact of loneliness on social engagement. We investigated whether loneliness would result in decreased social engagement over time among older adults and also whether the converse, that low levels of social engagement would predict increases in loneliness, held. Additionally, we explored potential mechanisms (specifically, memory and depressive symptomatology as mediators) in the bidirectional relationship(s) between loneliness and social engagement. Data from 4,714 adults over 50 years of age, participating in Waves 3, 4, and 5 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (between 2006 and 2011), were analyzed using bivariate dual change scores within structural equation models...
September 13, 2018: Psychology and Aging
Yannick Stephan, Angelina R Sutin, Anna Kornadt, Antonio Terracciano
The present study aimed to identify whether polygenic scores (PGSs) for education, health and psychological factors are related to subjective age in a large sample of older adults. Participants were 7,763 individuals of European ancestry (57% women, Mean age = 69.15, SD = 10.18) from the Health and Retirement Study who were genotyped and provided subjective age data. Higher PGSs for educational achievement and well-being were related to a younger subjective age, whereas higher PGSs for neuroticism, body mass index, waist circumference, and depressive symptoms were associated with an older subjective age...
August 6, 2018: Psychology and Aging
Sharon A Mutter, Jared M Holder, Cody A Mashburn, Catherine M Luna
In this study, we investigated whether age-related deficits in cue-outcome associative learning (e.g., Mutter, Atchley, & Plumlee, 2012; Mutter, DeCaro, & Plumlee, 2009; Mutter, Haggbloom, Plumlee, & Schirmer, 2006; Mutter & Williams, 2004) might be due to a decline in older adults' ability to modulate attention to relevant and irrelevant cues. In the first 2 experiments, we used standard blocking and highlighting tasks to indirectly measure the ability to shift attention away from irrelevant stimuli toward relevant, predictive cues (e...
July 30, 2018: Psychology and Aging
Dennis Reike, Wolf Schwarz
Whereas many cognitive tasks show pronounced aging effects, even in healthy older adults, other tasks seem more resilient to aging. A small number of recent studies suggests that number comparison is possibly one of the abilities that remain unaltered across the life span. We investigated the ability to compare single-digit numbers in young (19-39 years; n = 39) and healthy older (65-79 years; n = 39) adults in considerable detail, analyzing accuracy as well as mean and variance of their response time, together with several other well-established hallmarks of numerical comparison...
July 5, 2018: Psychology and Aging
Frank J Infurna, Cathleen Kappes, Nicoletta Fraire
Whereas it is well established that having a sense of control over one's life circumstances facilitates positive aging-related outcomes across adulthood and old age, far less is known about what factors contribute to perceived control and whether these factors differ across the adult life span. We used longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study (N = 7,624, M age at 2006 = 67.50 years, range 50-104, 59% women) to examine whether level of, and time-related change in, episodic memory, depressive symptoms, and health (functional limitations, self-rated health) predict levels of 2 distinct components of perceived control: constraints and mastery...
September 2018: Psychology and Aging
Thomas M Hess, Claire M Growney, Erica L O'Brien, Shevaun D Neupert, Andrew Sherwood
Engagement in cognitively demanding everyday activities has been shown to benefit cognitive health in later life. We investigated the factors that influence engagement, with specific interest in determining the extent to which the costs of engaging cognitive resources are associated with intrinsic motivation and, ultimately, participation in everyday activities. Older adults (N = 153) aged from 65 to 81 years completed a challenging cognitive task, with the costs of cognitive engagement-operationalized as the effort required to maintain performance-assessed using systolic blood pressure responses (SBP-R)...
September 2018: Psychology and Aging
Veronika Job, Vanda Sieber, Klaus Rothermund, Jana Nikitin
What people believe about their capacity to exert self-control (willpower), whether it is a limited or a nonlimited resource, affects their self-regulation and well-being. The present research investigated age-related differences in people's beliefs-called implicit theories-about willpower. Study 1 (n = 802, age range 18-83 years) showed that with higher age people are more likely to believe that willpower is a nonlimited resource. Study 2 (n = 423) with younger (age 18-35 years) and older adults (age 60-98 years) replicated this finding and showed that age and a nonlimited willpower theory are related to perceived autonomy on demanding tasks (i...
September 2018: Psychology and Aging
Natalie Martschuk, Siegfried L Sporer
The present meta-analysis investigated the influence of age on face recognition. A total of 19 studies with 79 comparisons of younger and older participants were included. Analyses revealed small to moderate effects for hits, and large effects for false alarms and signal detection theory (SDT) measures. Younger participants outperformed older participants on most face recognition measures. Younger participants made more hits (gu = 0.31) and fewer false alarms (gu = 0.95) and thus had better SDT recognition performance (gu = 1...
September 2018: Psychology and Aging
(no author information available yet)
Reports an error in "Adult age differences in decision making across domains: Increased discounting of social and health-related rewards" by Kendra L. Seaman, Marissa A. Gorlick, Kruti M. Vekaria, Ming Hsu, David H. Zald and Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin ( Psychology and Aging , 2016[Nov], Vol 31[7], 737-746). In the article, the levels for the effort task were mischaracterized; levels from an earlier pilot version of the task were accidentally reported. This error does not affect any of the results because the data for the modeling and analyses used the correct levels...
September 2018: Psychology and Aging
Narun Pornpattananangkul, Bing Cai Kok, Jingwen Chai, Yi Huang, Lei Feng, Rongjun Yu
Many older adults hold powerful positions in governments and corporate boards throughout the world. Accordingly, older adults often have to make important financial decisions on behalf of others under risk. Although it is common to observe younger adults taking more risks when making financial decisions for others, it is unclear if older adults exhibit the same self-other discrepancies. Here, we conducted 2 studies (88 and 124 participants, respectively) to examine self-other discrepancies in financial decision making under risk in older adults...
September 2018: Psychology and Aging
Lauren L Richmond, Jesse Q Sargent, Shaney Flores, Jeffrey M Zacks
Compared with younger adults, older adults have more difficulty with navigation and spatial memory in both familiar and unfamiliar domains. However, the cognitive mechanisms underlying these effects have been little explored. We examined three potential factors: (a) use of and coordination across spatial reference frames, (b) nonspatial cognitive abilities, and (c) the ability to segment a route into effective chunks. In two experiments, healthy young and older adults watched videos of navigation in a novel environment and had to remember the placement of landmarks along the route...
September 2018: Psychology and Aging
Emily R Cohen-Shikora, Nathaniel T Diede, Julie M Bugg
Prior research has shown that aging is accompanied by changes in cognitive control. Older adults are less effective in maintaining an attentional bias in favor of goal-relevant information and are less flexible in shifting control relative to younger adults. Using a novel variant of the Stroop color-naming task, we tested the hypothesis that age-related differences in the flexible shifting of control may be small or absent when control is guided by experience (i.e., environmental input guiding attention). Younger and older adults named the color of color words in abbreviated lists of trials...
September 2018: Psychology and Aging
Claire-Genevieve La Fleur, M Joseph Meyer, Chad Dodson
One of the central concepts within the literature on cognitive aging is the notion of dedifferentiation-the idea that increasing age is associated with an increase in the interrelatedness of different cognitive abilities. Despite the centrality of this dedifferentiation hypothesis, there is a great deal of evidence that both supports and does not support dedifferentiation. We hypothesized that these inconsistent findings were due to (a) the use of different cognitive abilities (i.e., memory vs. speed of processing) that were correlated; and (b) the differing age groups that were used across studies...
August 2018: Psychology and Aging
Daniel J Mitchell, Rhodri Cusack
Visual short-term memory (VSTM) ability falls throughout the life span in healthy adults. Using a continuous report task, in a large, population-based sample, we first confirmed that this decline affects the quality and quantity of reported memories as well as knowledge of which item went where. Visual and sensorimotor precision also worsened with advancing age, but this did not account for the reduced memory performance. We then considered two strategies that older individuals might be able to adopt, to offset these memory declines: the use of contextual encoding, and metacognitive monitoring of performance...
August 2018: Psychology and Aging
Chiara Meneghetti, Elena Carbone, Antonino Di Maggio, Enrico Toffalini, Erika Borella
There is evidence of mental rotation (MR) abilities responding to training even in older adults, but it is still not clear whether such training would have generalized and maintained effects. The aim of the present study was to examine the specific short- and long-term gains, and any transfer effects, induced by rotation training in healthy older adults. The study involved 43 healthy older adults: 14 practiced with 2 MR tasks, that is, a 3D same/different comparisons task and a Tetris game (the Mental Rotation [MR] group); 15 were trained to use a strategy based on concrete object manipulation and imagery, then practiced with the 2 rotation tasks (Strategy [S] + MR group); and 14 were involved in alternative nonspatial activities (active control group)...
August 2018: Psychology and Aging
Johanna Drewelies, Dorly J H Deeg, Martijn Huisman, Denis Gerstorf
Life span psychological and life course sociological perspectives have long acknowledged the role of historical and sociocultural contexts for individuals' functioning and development. Secular increases favoring older adults in later born cohorts are widely documented for fluid cognitive performance and well-being. However, less is known about secular trends in further key resources of psychosocial functioning, such as perceptions of constraints, and how these are driven by and associated with well-established and probably interrelated secular trends in several individual difference characteristics, including sociodemographic, religiosity, physical health, cognitive, and social variables...
August 2018: Psychology and Aging
Oliver K Schilling, Dorly J H Deeg, Martijn Huisman
Adding to recent evidence of terminal decline in affective well-being, this study examined the role of physical health in accounting for time-to-death-related changes in positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA). We distinguished effects of preterminal health levels predicting levels ("preserved differentiation") and terminal changes ("differential preservation") and of terminal health declines predicting terminal changes ("terminal reactivity") of affective well-being in the terminal period of life...
August 2018: Psychology and Aging
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