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Psychology and Aging

Sabrina Guye, Claudia C von Bastian
The question of whether working memory training leads to generalized improvements in untrained cognitive abilities is a longstanding and heatedly debated one. Previous research provides mostly ambiguous evidence regarding the presence or absence of transfer effects in older adults. Thus, to draw decisive conclusions regarding the effectiveness of working memory training interventions, methodologically sound studies with larger sample sizes are needed. In this study, we investigated whether or not a computer-based working memory training intervention induced near and far transfer in a large sample of 142 healthy older adults (65 to 80 years)...
December 2017: Psychology and Aging
George Samrani, Lars Bäckman, Jonas Persson
The inability to suppress irrelevant information has been suggested as a primary cause of proactive interference (PI), and this deficit may be enhanced in aging. The current study examines age differences and temporal boundaries of PI, by manipulating lure distances in a verbal 2-back working memory task. Both younger and older adults showed effects of interference for proximal 3- and 4-back lures, and this effect was greater for older adults. Whereas younger adults showed less interference during 4-back compared to 3-back lures, in both reaction times and accuracy, older adults improved only in accuracy...
December 2017: Psychology and Aging
Catherine L Reed, Summer N Clay, Abigail O Kramer, David S Leland, Alan A Hartley
Research with young adults has shown hand proximity biases attention both early (by the time stimuli are categorized as relevant for action) and later, selectively for goal-relevant-stimuli. We examined age-related changes in this multisensory integration of vision and proprioception by comparing behavior and event-related potentials (ERPs) between younger and older adults. In a visual detection task, the hand was placed near or kept far from target and nontarget stimuli matched for frequency and visual features...
December 2017: Psychology and Aging
Ryan Sutcliffe, Peter G Rendell, Julie D Henry, Phoebe E Bailey, Ted Ruffman
We investigated young-old differences in emotion recognition using music and face stimuli and tested explanatory hypotheses regarding older adults' typically worse emotion recognition. In Experiment 1, young and older adults labeled emotions in an established set of faces, and in classical piano stimuli that we pilot-tested on other young and older adults. Older adults were worse at detecting anger, sadness, fear, and happiness in music. Performance on the music and face emotion tasks was not correlated for either age group...
December 2017: Psychology and Aging
Maria Eismann, Kène Henkens, Matthijs Kalmijn
The general assumption in past research on coupled retirement is that men and women prefer joint retirement. The current study tests this assumption and hypothesizes that preferences to retire jointly are associated with (a) the work and relationship attachment of both members of the couple, and (b) the respective spouse's preferences. The results show that the majority of dual-earner couples have no preference for joint retirement. Male and female spouses with either weak work attachment or strong relationship attachment are more likely to prefer to retire jointly...
December 2017: Psychology and Aging
Nadia M Brashier, Kristi S Multhaup
Magical thinking, or illogical causal reasoning such as superstitions, decreases across childhood, but almost no data speak to whether this developmental trajectory continues across the life span. In four experiments, magical thinking decreased across adulthood. This pattern replicated across two judgment domains and could not be explained by age-related differences in tolerance of ambiguity, domain-specific knowledge, or search for meaning. These data complement and extend findings that experience, accumulated over decades, guides older adults' judgments so that they match, or even exceed, young adults' performance...
December 2017: Psychology and Aging
Margund K Rohr, Dennis T John, Helene H Fung, Frieder R Lang
Although extensive findings underscore the relevance of future time perspective (FTP) in the process of aging, the assumption of FTP as a unifactorial construct has been challenged. The present study explores the factorial structure of the FTP scale (Carstensen & Lang, 1996) as one of the most widely used measures (Ntotal = 2,170). Results support that FTP reflects a higher-order construct that consists of 3 interrelated components-Opportunity, Extension, and Constraint. It is suggested that the flexible usage of the FTP scale as an all compassing 10-item measure or with focus on specific components depends on the concrete research question...
November 2017: Psychology and Aging
David M Lydon-Staley, Nilam Ram, Annette Brose, Florian Schmiedek
Recent work has suggested that older adults may be less susceptible to the next-day effects of alcohol relative to younger adults. The effects of alcohol in younger adults may be mediated by sleep duration, but due to age differences in the contexts of alcohol use, this mediation process may not generalize to older adults. The present study examined age-group (younger vs. older adults) differences in how alcohol use influenced next-day tiredness during daily life. Reports of alcohol use, sleep duration, and next-day tiredness obtained on ∼101 days from 91 younger adults (ages 20-31 years) and 75 older adults (ages 65-80 years) were modeled using a multilevel, moderated mediation framework...
November 2017: Psychology and Aging
Margund K Rohr, Cornelia Wieck, Ute Kunzmann
Although various studies point to the importance of positive emotions for health and well-being across the entire life span, current research on age differences in emotional reactivity mainly focuses on negative emotions. Empirical evidence on positive emotions is scarce and mixed. Part of the inconsistencies may be related to study differences in the stimuli used and the emotional response systems considered. Thus, the present study examined different response systems (i.e., subjective feelings, facial and verbal expressions) and used internal stimuli of high personal relevance to all participants...
October 12, 2017: Psychology and Aging
Jeremy M Hamm, Judith G Chipperfield, Raymond P Perry, Patti C Parker, Jutta Heckhausen
Although an active pursuit of health goals is typically adaptive, there may be circumstances in very late life when it is not. Our 10-year study of community-dwelling individuals (n = 220, 79-98 years-old) examined whether investing substantial effort into personal health (high selective primary control) in the absence of help-seeking strategies (low compensatory primary control) jeopardized survival for very old adults who varied in functional independence (low, high). Cox proportional hazard models showed selective primary control (SPC) predicted 10-year mortality risk for only those with low compensatory primary control (CPC) and high initial functional independence...
October 5, 2017: Psychology and Aging
Sarah Le Vigouroux, Jean-Baptiste Pavani, Bruno Dauvier, Jean-Luc Kop, Anne Congard
We examined age-related differences in the reactive and proactive use of affect regulation strategies. We collected data from 209 participants 13-80 years of age, using an experience sampling method. The most interesting finding was that, as hypothesized, compared with those under 20, adults 20 and over used the 2 strategies we focused on (i.e., problem solving and positive reappraisal) more intensely and in a reactive manner. By contrast, from the age of about 55 upward, adults were characterized by a more intensely proactive use of these strategies...
October 5, 2017: Psychology and Aging
Darlene Olfman, Leah L Light, Mariana Schmalstig, Dean A Pospisil, Regina Pendergrass, Christie Chung
Young and older adults studied a list of words and then took 2 successive tests of item recognition, an easy test consisting of studied words and unrelated lures and a hard test pitting studied words against semantically related lures. When the easy test was first, participants in both age groups adopted a more stringent criterion on the harder test. When the hard test was first, no criterion shift was seen. Older adults can assess the consequences for accuracy of maintaining a lenient criterion when discrimination becomes more difficult and can take appropriate action to control errors under these conditions...
September 28, 2017: Psychology and Aging
Ingwer Borg, Guido Hertel, Dieter Hermann
This study examined the relationship of personal values to age using data from two representative surveys. We hypothesized that individuals organize personal values, regardless of their age, as a circle with the same order of values on this circle but that older persons are closer to conservation and more remote from openness to change and closer to self-transcendence and more distant from self-enhancement. The structural stability of the value circle over age was largely confirmed across and within individuals...
September 28, 2017: Psychology and Aging
Rahel Rabi, John Paul Minda
Being able to categorize promotes cognitive economy by reducing the amount of information that an individual needs to remember. This ability is particularly important in older adulthood, when executive functioning abilities are known to decline. Prior research has shown that older adults can learn simple categories quite well but struggle when learning more complex categories which place a demand on executive function resources. The goal of Experiments 1 to 3 was to assess whether familiarizing older adults with complex rule-based or non-rule-based categories prior to beginning a categorization task would minimize age-related categorization deficits...
September 28, 2017: Psychology and Aging
Sophie M Hardy, Katherine Messenger, Elizabeth A Maylor
Young adults can be primed to reuse a syntactic structure across otherwise unrelated utterances but it is not known whether this phenomenon exists in older adults. In a dialogue task, young and older adults described transitive verb target pictures after hearing active or passive sentences. Both groups were more likely to produce a passive sentence following a passive prime than following an active prime (indicating syntactic priming), and this effect increased when the prime and target involved the same verb (indicating lexical boost)...
September 2017: Psychology and Aging
Avanti Dey, Mitchell S Sommers, Lynn Hasher
The presence of noise and interfering information can pose major difficulties during speech perception, particularly for older adults. Analogously, interference from similar representations during retrieval is a major cause of age-related memory failures. To demonstrate a suppression mechanism that underlies such speech and memory difficulties, we tested the hypothesis that interference between targets and competitors is resolved by suppressing competitors, thereby rendering them less intelligible in noise...
September 2017: Psychology and Aging
Maria Wirth, Derek M Isaacowitz, Ute Kunzmann
Prominent life span theories of emotion propose that older adults attend less to negative emotional information and report less negative emotional reactions to the same information than younger adults do. Although parallel age differences in affective information processing and age differences in emotional reactivity have been proposed, they have rarely been investigated within the same study. In this eye-tracking study, we tested age differences in visual attention and emotional reactivity, using standardized emotionally negative stimuli...
September 2017: Psychology and Aging
Deirdre A Robertson, David Weiss
Negative age-related stereotypes often entail the perception that older adults have a lower social status than middle-aged adults. We hypothesized that older adults are perceived to have lower social status because they are less likely to be seen in prestigious occupational positions. People tend to infer general assumptions about group characteristics from exemplars. According to this, presenting a stereotype-inconsistent exemplar (i.e., older person in a high-status position) should change perceptions of older adults' social status...
September 2017: Psychology and Aging
Emma L Anderson, Jon Heron, Yoav Ben-Shlomo, Diana Kuh, Rachel Cooper, Debbie A Lawlor, Abigail Fraser, Laura D Howe
Very few studies have assessed whether socioeconomic and psychosocial adversity during childhood are associated with objective measures of aging later in life. We assessed associations of socioeconomic position (SEP) and total psychosocial adversity during childhood, with objectively measured cognitive and physical capability in women during midlife. Adverse childhood experiences were retrospectively reported at mean ages 28-30 years in women from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents And Children (N = 2,221)...
September 2017: Psychology and Aging
Gizem Hülür, Jutta Heckhausen, Christiane A Hoppmann, Frank J Infurna, Gert G Wagner, Nilam Ram, Denis Gerstorf
It is well documented that well-being typically evinces precipitous decrements at the end of life. However, research has primarily taken a postdictive approach by knowing the outcome (date of death) and aligning, in retrospect, how well-being has changed for people with documented death events. In the present study, we made use of a predictive approach by examining whether and how levels of and changes in life satisfaction prospectively predict mortality hazards and delineate the role of contributing factors, including health, perceived control, and social orientation...
September 2017: Psychology and Aging
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