Impact of Aging on Thinking

Shannon McGillivray, Michael C. Friedman and Alan D. Castel

in The Oxford Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199734689
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Impact of Aging on Thinking

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience



This chapter discusses the impact of aging on judgment and decision making, problem solving, reasoning, induction, memory, and metacognition, as well as the influence of expertise, training, and wisdom. In addition, the chapter presents theories of cognitive aging and addresses the ways in which changing goals (such as emotional goals) in old age can alter the processes and outcomes associated with cognitive operations. There is a wealth of research documenting age-related cognitive declines and impairments in areas such as decision making, reasoning, problem solving, category learning, and memory. However, in addition to addressing the potential difficulties older adults may experience when performing demanding cognitive operations, this chapter also examines certain situations and variables that have been shown to lessen or ameliorate age-related differences in performance. Lastly, the impact of training, expertise, and wisdom are discussed as they relate to successful cognitive aging.

Keywords: aging; cognitive aging; decision making; memory; metacognition; problem solving; reasoning; inductive learning; training; expertise; wisdom

Article.  16058 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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