Chapter

Aging of Thought

Timothy A. Salthouse

in Lifespan Cognition

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195169539
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847204 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169539.003.0019
Aging of Thought

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A major weakness of the contemporary literature on aging and cognition, and likely also in the literature on cognitive development, is the very limited understanding of the relations between age and knowledge, and of the impact of relevant knowledge on functioning in cognitively demanding activities inside and outside of the psychological laboratory. Thinking can be defined as the application of reasoning and other cognitive processes to one's available knowledge to achieve some goal. This chapter examines the relations between adult age and performance on two activities involving thinking. One task is based on the analytical reasoning test formerly used in the Graduate Record Examination to supplement assessments of quantitative ability and verbal ability. The other activity consists of solving difficult crossword puzzles such as those found in newspapers. This chapter also presents a brief summary of the research literature on adult age differences in processing efficiency, or what is known as organic capacities.

Keywords: thinking; aging; reasoning; knowledge; verbal ability; crossword puzzles; age differences; cognitive processes; processing efficiency; organic capacities

Chapter.  6515 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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