Chapter 9 Notes

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20 Mar 2011
Chapter 9
Cognition, emotion, wisdom, and Expertise
-Cognitive decline is an inecitable aspect of aging
-No measures of intellectual functioning, learning, or memory exist for which older adults
reliably outperform younger adults.
-In everyday decision-making and problem-solving situations, however, older adults usually
shows no declines in proficiency. Furthermore, some odler adults show wisdom and
Bioculutural Influences
-many facets of development are co-determined through interactions between biogenetic and
cultural factors.
-The attributes and meanings of the term cognition reflect cultural expectations about the
nature of life-span development. For example
-Attributes of being bright and a fast learner are much more likely to be used in
reference to the actions (or inactions) of adolescents and young adults than to the actions of
middle-aged and older adults
-Conversely, the attributes of being effective, sensitive, and wise are more likely to be
used in reference to the actions of middle-aged or older adults than in reference to the
actions of younger adults.
-Adult cognitive development encompasses the consequences of biologically driven losses in
function and experientially driven gains in function.
-Cognitive mechanics: behavioral functions that closely depend on the status of the
neural substrates of cognition (ex. The hippocampus, the prefrontal cortex)
-Cognitive Pragmatics: behavioral functions that closely depend on the status on
knowledge and strategies acquired through experience.
-Beg. In early adulthood, the plasticity of cognitive mechanics decreases with advancing
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age, but increasingly the individual draws on knowledge of the culture and accumulated
experience as bases or sources for replenishing lifelong development.
-In the oldest adult (the fourth age) it is likely that age-related losses, accumulated injuries,
illnesses, and diseases conspire to produce comprehensive deficits that seriously limit
applicability of cognitive pragmatics as well as cognitive mechanics.
Decision Making and Problem solving Sources of Age-related differences
-the shift in the way researchers investigate possible age related differences in the
effectiveness of complex cognitive functions has shifted toward looking at cognitive
activities in daily life or everyday situations and toward looking at the role of emotions in
decision making and problem solving/
-3 questions guide the study of everyday decision making
1. Does performance in real-world decision making and problem solving tasks show
the benefits of experience, and is the performance of everyday tasks protected from age
related declines?
2. To what extent is there a discrepancy between findings about age differences
obtained from measures of basic cognitive function and measures of everyday decision
making and problem solving?
-recent studies suggest the measures of everyday problem solving and
traditional measures of intelligence are closely related.
-the relation between basic and applied measures diminishes or disappears if
successful performance of everyday task depends more on emotional processing than on
deliberative or effortful cognitive processing.
3.the second part of #1???
Decision Making
-It seems that the kinds of decisions that older adults face are more complicated now than
in past decades.
-ex. Making good decisions about matters of health and health coverages can be
difficult (especially organizing and submitting medical forms)
-New findings clearly show that the extent to which there are age-related differences in
particular kinds of decision-making tasks depends on the kinds of cognitive and emotional
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process that are involved in carrying out the task.
-If performing well on the task depends heavily on working memory or on speedy
processing of lots of info, there will be undoubtedly be an age-related deficit.
-In decision-making tasks in which a lot of information is presented quickly, age-
related slowing in the speed of processing can cause some new information to be missed
because of the delay in the processing of presented info. Produces a bottleneck at input
and at retrieval that limits the quantity of info that can be processed.
- If the decision making task requires active reconfiguration of info in the working
memory, older adults will a disadvantage
- If the decision making task involves shifting from one strategy to another, an age-
related deficit is likely because of the effects of brain aging on processes associated with the
prefrontal cortex.
- In contrast, if cognitive processing demands of decision making are not excessive,
and good performance depends on affective or emotional processes, it is likely that there
would not be an age-related deficit in the performance of healthy adults.
-Deliberative processing: a variety of individual-controlled cognitive processes such as
working memory and strategic or executive cognitive functions. Known to decline with
advancing age.
-Some studies show no changes in emotional functioning and emotional regulation, where
as other studies actually show age-related gains in affective processing
-fewer images in the older age group compared to the younger and middle aged groups.
However the ratio of positive to negative events is highest in the older age group.
Suggesting a positivity effect
-The positivity effect refers to a developmental pattern in which a disproportionate
preference for negative information in youth shifts across adulthood to a disproportionate
preference for positive information in later life
Problem Solving
- Passive emotional regulation strategies refer to suppressing feelings or not trying to
change the situation
-Include planful problem solving (PPS) and cognitive analysis (CA)
-Instrumental Strategies refer to taking direct actions to solve the problem
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