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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
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
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
Andrew R Bender, Moshe Naveh-Benjamin, Katheryn Amann, Naftali Raz
The associative deficit hypothesis (ADH) posits that age-related differences in recognition of associations are disproportionately larger than age differences in item recognition because of age-related difficulty in binding and retrieval of two or more pieces of information in a memory episode. This proposition rests on the observation of disproportionately greater age differences in memory for associations than in recognition of individual items. Although ADH has been supported in experiments with verbal and nonverbal stimuli, the effects of task or stimulus characteristics on its generalizability remain unclear...
August 2017: Psychology and Aging
Stephen P Badham, Adam N Sanborn, Elizabeth A Maylor
Memory research has long been one of the key areas of investigation for cognitive aging researchers but only in the last decade or so has categorization been used to understand age differences in cognition. Categorization tasks focus more heavily on the grouping and organization of items in memory, and often on the process of learning relationships through trial and error. Categorization studies allow researchers to more accurately characterize age differences in cognition: whether older adults show declines in the way in which they represent categories with simple rules or declines in representing categories by similarity to past examples...
August 2017: Psychology and Aging
Allison A Steen-Baker, Shukhan Ng, Brennan R Payne, Carolyn J Anderson, Kara D Federmeier, Elizabeth A L Stine-Morrow
The facilitation of word processing by sentence context reflects the interaction between the build-up of message-level semantics and lexical processing. Yet, little is known about how this effect varies through adulthood as a function of reading skill. In this study, Participants 18-64 years old with a range of literacy competence read simple sentences as their eye movements were monitored. We manipulated the predictability of a sentence-final target word, operationalized as cloze probability. First fixation durations showed an interaction between age and literacy skill, decreasing with age among more skilled readers but increasing among less skilled readers...
August 2017: Psychology and Aging
Laura Ros, Jose M Latorre, Juan P Serrano, Jorge J Ricarte
The CaRFAX model (Williams et al., 2007) has been used to explain the causes of overgeneral autobiographical memory (OGM; the difficulty to retrieve specific autobiographical memories), a cognitive phenomenon generally related with different psychopathologies. This model proposes 3 different mechanisms to explain OGM: capture and rumination (CaR), functional avoidance (FA) and impaired executive functions (X). However, the complete CaRFAX model has not been tested in nonclinical populations. This study aims to assess the usefulness of the CaRFAX model to explain OGM in 2 healthy samples: a young sample and an older sample, to test for possible age-related differences in the underlying causes of OGM...
August 2017: Psychology and Aging
Cornelia Wieck, Ute Kunzmann
Previous research has suggested age deficits in unimodal emotion recognition tasks. In 2 studies with independent samples, we tested the idea that older adults' performance will be enhanced in multimodal emotion recognition tasks. In each study, participants were presented with newly developed film clips, each portraying a young or an old woman while she relived an emotional memory. As a first step, participants received the film clips in each of 3 unimodal conditions (facial, lexical, prosodic). As a second step, participants were presented with tasks that contained different combinations of these modalities...
August 2017: Psychology and Aging
Anne J Dutt, Hans-Werner Wahl
A mood-induction paradigm was implemented in a sample of 144 adults covering midlife and old age (40-80 years) to investigate associations between mood and subjective age. Sad or neutral mood was induced by texts and music pieces. Subjective age was operationalized as felt age relative to chronological age. Participants receiving the sad-mood induction reported changes toward older felt ages from pre- to postinduction. Participants receiving the neutral-mood induction reported comparable levels of subjective age at pre- and postinduction...
August 2017: Psychology and Aging
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