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PS 277 – Adulthood and Aging Dr. Mike Pratt. PS277: Adulthood & Aging – Introductory Lecture 1 Course Information & Goals My Background Everyday Views.

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Presentation on theme: "PS 277 – Adulthood and Aging Dr. Mike Pratt. PS277: Adulthood & Aging – Introductory Lecture 1 Course Information & Goals My Background Everyday Views."— Presentation transcript:

1 PS 277 – Adulthood and Aging Dr. Mike Pratt

2 PS277: Adulthood & Aging – Introductory Lecture 1 Course Information & Goals My Background Everyday Views and Myths of Later Adulthood Life Span Perspective on Development Darwin’s Life Story and Aging Process

3 Contact Information Dr. Michael Pratt Office: 2024 Science Building Telephone: x2824 E-mail: Office Hours: Thursday 10:30-12:00 pm TA: Eric Theriault

4 I. Introductory Material Course syllabus on my Psych Dept webpage Field placements and paper assignment Evaluations Class discussions My vision issues

5 Course Goals Encourage you to think about development across the lifespan, not just during childhood/adolescence Get you to learn about how people study development in later life scientifically, some things they’ve found out so far and all the questions that remain! Spend some quality time with older adults as volunteer Give you an interest in finding out more about aging

6 II. My Interests, Background Trained as a developmental psychologist Interested in development across the lifespan – have taught courses on children, adolescents, and adults Research interests in adulthood and aging – moral development, family stories, parenting and grand- parenting, environmental concern –see lab information on my webpage Some clinical training working with families, children and adolescents

7 My Maternal Grandmother – Carrie Anne Watts - 1904?

8 My Parents & Grandmother – Ted and Louise Pratt, 1949

9 My Maternal Grandmother’s Paternal Grandparents – Watts Family, England, c. 1875

10 My Grandchildren, Maxwell and Ellie – Christmas, 2009 – 7 th generation

11 III. Studying the Life Cycle – Life Span Views Generally distinguish segments of lifespan in more detail within 2 major periods: Early Period: Infancy, childhood, adolescence, emerging adulthood Later Period: Young adulthood, midlife, young- old, old-old adults

12 The Far Side View – Some Common Stereotypes of Aging

13 Facts on Aging Quiz Some aspects of intelligence decline with old age The majority of older adults say that they are happy most of the time The majority of older adults will at some point end up in a nursing home Suicide is more common among the elderly than any other age group Rarely does someone over the age of 65 produce a great work of art, science, or scholarship Most older adults are preoccupied with death Older adults are set in their ways – you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

14 What Are Some Implications of Stereotypes/Myths about Aging? Others may “expect” problems and thus create them (self-fulfilling prophecy) – e.g., treating older adults as very dependent in nursing home contexts (Langer’s work) Older adults may anticipate these problems for themselves and thus create them too – feeling incompetent We may “overlook” serious problems, thinking they’re just typical – e.g., dementias

15 Social Implications of Aging in the Canadian Population Aging adults are the fastest-growing segment of the population in Canada (60% growth from 1981 to 2001 in old-old group, over 85) + Baby Boomers coming! Older adults are often seen as “burden” on rest of society – demanding resources, in conflict with young Important to remember that older adults are diverse, more multi-cultural, better educated, more healthy than in past Comments, reactions?

16 IV. Paul Baltes’ Integrated Perspective on Lifespan Development Bio-cultural framework Multi-directionality of development Plasticity Adaptation in later life – the SOC model

17 Paul Baltes (1939-2006)

18 Bio-Cultural Model Influences of nature and nurture – always intertwined Human biology and the genome become less favorable later in life (e.g., diseases of later life – Alzheimer’s) Why? Hard to eliminate these problems from the genome, since selection operates on reproductive potential, which is lower in later life Need for environment to sustain high levels of function increases with age – e.g., recent improvements in life span due to medical research and technology

19 Allocation of Resources in Development – Multidirectionality Growth functions = early life Maintenance, resilience functions = mid-life, adulthood Regulation of loss functions = late life STILL: Older adults may show some gains – ex., broader lessons in their stories, but more losses – memory for details Children show some losses – ex., breadth of phoneme perception declines, but more gains – language development

20 Plasticity in Development – “Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks?” Older adults show declines on average in test performance in later life – e.g., spatial rotation skills (Schaie & Willis, 1986) Older adults also show considerable plasticity of development through improvement in training studies – e.g., spatial rotation if given training in strategies Comparative training studies show that plasticity is greater for younger adults than elderly, however

21 Artur Rubenstein – Pianist (1887 – 1982)

22 A Model of Goal Regulation (SOC Framework) Selection + Optimization + Compensation in Managing Losses of Later Life Arthur Rubenstein example in 80’s for playing fast passages on piano: Chose easier pieces (Selection) Practiced them more (Optimization) Played slow parts slower for contrast with the fast parts, which couldn’t do as fast (Compensation)

23 IV. Charles Darwin in Late Life (1809- 1882)

24 Darwin’s Life Story – A Whole Person View of Adulthood and Aging Born in February 1809 in well-to-do English family Mother died young, when Darwin was 8, raised by older sisters A poor student who liked hunting and collecting in nature, “amount to nothing” comment of father Voyage at 22 on HMS Beagle as key early life experience (1831-1836) and turning point Became an independent “gentleman” scholar on return Married cousin Emma in 1838, 10 children born to couple, lost 2 Developed theory of evolution through natural selection in 1839 or so, spent many years gathering support, finally published in 1859 Experienced severe health problems throughout adulthood, both mental and physical, anxious over unconventional implications of theory Spent last 25 years of life working out implications of theory for humans, other life forms, carrying out research Died at age 73, in 1882

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