2 Module 12: Adulthood Topics Grown-Ups Think About Physical Changes in Middle Adulthood and in Later Life: Life expectancy, Sensory changes, Dementias including Alzheimer’s DiseaseCognitive Development and declineSocial Development: Love, WorkWell-Being across the LifespanDying and DeathNo animation.
3 AdulthoodIs the rest of the developmental story just one long plateau of work and possibly raising kids?Physical Developmentphysical declinelifespan and deathsensory changesCognitive DevelopmentmemorySocial DevelopmentcommitmentsClick to show box with upcoming topics.Early on in this section, I highlight that death comes to everyone, so that students will be prepared to shift gears and talk about sensory decline. You can choose to move those lifespan/death slides to the end of the physical development section or to the end of the entire discussion of adulthood.
4 Adult Physical Development In our mid-20’s, we reach a peak in the natural physical abilities which come with biological maturation:muscular strengthcardiac outputreaction timesensory sensitivityTo what extent can training overcome the decline that follows?Click to reveal bullets.Answering the last question: with strength and endurance training, you can improve compared to someone not training, but it does not change the decline compared to a younger person doing the same training.Question (with no correct answer) you can raise with students: does the word “development” still apply if we are talking about a decline?
5 Physical Changes: Middle Adulthood The end the reproductive yearsThere is a gradual decline in sexual activity in adulthood, although sexuality can continue throughout life.Around age 50, women enter menopause (the end of being able to get pregnant).According to evolutionary psychologists, why might it make sense for women’s fertility to end?Physical Changes: Middle AdulthoodBetween ages 40 and 60, physical vitality (such as endurance and strength) may still be more of a function of lifestyle than of biological decline.Some changes are still driven by genetic maturation, especially the end of our reproductive years.Click to reveal bullets and sidebar.Potential answer to the sidebar question: to ensure the presence of healthy mothers, AND to create a population of back-up help to these mothers (grandmothers).You might note that is human fertility did not end, evolutionary psychologists would easily explain that too (i.e., to maximize the number of offspring). This might help students understand the limits of evolutionary psychology; explanations cannot almost never be empirically tested.
6 The Aging Body More Aged Women The rise in life expectancy, combined with declining birth rates, means a higher percentage of the world’s population is old.More elderly people are women because more men die than women at every age. By age 100, women outnumber men by a ratio of 5 to 1.Potential lifespan for the human body is estimated to be about 122 years.Life expectancy refers to the average expected life span.The worldwide average has increased from 49 in 1950 to 69 in In 2012:South Africa—49Cameroon—55Pakistan—66Thailand--74United States--75Ireland--80Australia—82Japan--84Click to reveal bullets and sidebar bullets.Although the next few slides leading up to death are here to follow the sequence of the text, I suggest moving them to the end of this “Physical Development” section or even to the end of the chapter.About the change in life expectancy: picture how adding two more decades of life (on average) changes what a typical life is like, both for individuals and families. (Although actually, much of the rise of this average figure may be due to decreasing infant mortality; not all adults living two decades longer.)This life expectancy figure may seem low; keep in mind that it averages all countries, and that it is the life expectancy at birth. Figures for life expectancy for those who have survived the infant mortality years is higher, although this was even more true in the past.
7 Why don’t we live forever? Possible biological answers… Nurture/EnvironmentAn accumulation of stress, damage, and disease wears us down until one of these factors kills us.GenesSome people have genes that protect against some kinds of damage.Even with great genes and environment, telomeres (the tips at the end of chromosomes) wear down with every generation of cell duplication and we stop healing well.Click to reveal bullets.Philosophical and evolutionary answers to the question on this slide might speculate about the value of “new blood” but this is highly debatable.The answers on the slide are biological answers, and more about “how” we don’t live forever, perhaps not a full answer as to “why.”The wearing down of telomeres is worsened by smoking, obesity, and stress. It happens no matter how life is lived, although researchers are looking into extending the human lifespan by reducing the deterioration of the telomeres.
8 The Death-Deferral Phenomenon Can people will themselves to hold off death? There is some evidence that some people are able to stay alive to be with families at Christmas time.No animation.There is, however, some dispute about this data. We will return to the subject of dying later in the chapter, as a social rather than as a biological issue, although you could also move this slide to join that later discussion.
9 Physical Changes with Age The following abilities decline as we age:visual acuity, both sharpness and brightnesshearing, especially sensing higher pitchreaction time and general motor abilitiesneural processing speed, especially for complex and novel tasksClick to reveal bullets.The first bullet will shrink to play off the visual acuity issue.
10 Impact of Sensory and Motor Decline What specific factors and changes might explain the results below?No animation.It’s a more minor point, but you could ask students to explain why looking at accidents per mile driven rather than per driver is a more dramatic figure. Which figure is more appropriate in assessing the average risk of letting an older person drive?Age
11 Health/Immunity Changes with Age The bad newsThe good newsThe immune system declines with age, and can have difficulty fighting off major illnesses.The immune system has a lifetime’s accumulation of antibodies, and does well fighting off minor illnesses.Click to reveal good news and bad news.
12 Exercise Can Slow the Aging Process build muscles and bones.stimulate neurogenesis (in the hippocampus) and new neural connections.maintain telomeres.improve cognition.reduce the risk of dementia.Click to reveal bullets.
13 Changes in the Brain with Age Myelin-enhanced neural processing speed peaks in the teen years, and declines thereafter.Regions of the brain related to memory begin to shrink with age, making it harder to form new memories.The frontal lobes atrophy, leading eventually to decreased inhibition and self-control.By age 80, a healthy brain is 5 percent lighter than a brain in middle adulthood.Click to reveal bullets.
14 Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias Brain Changes of Alzheimer’s Diseaseloss of brain cells and neural network connectionsdeterioration of neurons that produce acetylcholine, the memory neurotransmittershriveled and broken protein filaments forming plaques at the tips of neuronsdramatic shrinking of the brainDementia, including the Alzheimer’s type, is NOT a “normal” part of aging.Dementia Symptomsdecreased ability to recall recent events and the names of familiar objects and peopleemotional unpredictability; flat, then uninhibited, then angryconfusion, disorientation, and eventual inability to think or communicateClick to reveal bullets and sidebar bullets.Note: when a person has just one of the above symptoms, or general memory problems, it does NOT mean that person has dementia.There are many other kinds of dementia besides Alzheimer’s, including dementia related to strokes, or “multi-infarct dementia.”Sidebar: it is not clear which of these brain changes causes dementia and which simply tend to be associated with Alzheimer’s. Some of these changes are evident in people without Alzheimer’s, and some people with Alzheimer’s symptoms do not show these changes. Nonetheless, these brain changes, in addition to some associated genes, and other symptoms such as loss of ability to smell, can form early warning signs of Alzheimer’s.
15 Cognitive Development and Memory Even without the brain changes of dementia, there are some changes in our ability to learn, process, and recall information.The ability to recognize information, and to use previous knowledge as expertise, does not decline with age.Cognitive Development and MemoryCan you describe and explain the differences in performance changes in these charts?Click to reveal bullets and example. See if students can describe, or even try to explain, the change with age in performance depicted in these two charts. You may need to clarify that the “names recalled” in this study (on the left), refers to the names of people introducing themselves in video clips.
16 More Learning and Memory Changes Rote memorization ability declines more than ability to learn meaningful information.Prospective memory, planning to recall, (“I must remember to do…) also declines.The ability to learn new skills declines less than the ability to learn new information.Click to reveal bullets.
17 Comparing Young and Old People Cross-sectional studies compare people at different ages all at one time.What disadvantages can you see with this method?Hint: when, and how, were today’s 80-year-olds raised?Longitudinal studies compare the attributes of the same people as they change over time.Any disadvantages?Is it practical?Is it generalizable?Click to reveal bullets.Disadvantage of cross-sectional studies: comparing populations with different “nurture.” Today’s 80 year olds may be different because of the era in which they were raisedDisadvantage of longitudinal studies: a declining and narrow subject base, and it takes a long time to get useful data.Both types of studies have the weakness of comparing the average young person to the select group of older people who happen to live that long.All of these make it hard to gain knowledge that can predict how today’s young people will be when they are old.
18 Social Development in Adulthood Is adult social development driven by biological maturation or by life experiences and roles?The “midlife crisis”--re-evaluating one’s life plan and success--does not seem to peak at any age.For the 25 percent of adults who do have this emotional crisis, the trigger seems to be the challenge of major illness, divorce, job loss, or parenting.Click to reveal bullets.The sports car is a stereotypical, perhaps mythical, example of purchases by people in their 50’s trying to feel more youthful. You could ask if any students have parents showing this type of behavior.
19 Psychosocial Development Although the “midlife crisis” may not be a function of age, people do feel pressured by a “social clock” of achievement expectation.Erik Erikson’s observations of age-related issues:Click to reveal bullets.
20 Challenges of Healthy Adulthood Arising first:Erik Erikson’s intimacy issue (a.k.a. affiliation, attachment, connectedness)Sigmund Freud used simpler terms, saying that the healthy adult must find ways to love and to work.Arising later: Erik Erikson’s generativity issue (achievement, productivity, competence)Click to reveal all text.
21 Commitment to Love Commitment to Work The desire to commit to a loving relationship may have evolved to help vulnerable human children survive long enough to reproduce.Couples who go through marriage/union ceremonies tend to stay together more than couples who simply live together.Marriage, compared to being single, is associated with ‘happiness’ and with fewer social problems such as crime and child delinquency.Work roles can largely define adult identity, especially in individualistic capitalist societies.Tough economic times make it difficult to find work, much less follow a career path.Work satisfaction seems to be a function of having the work fit a person’s interests and providing a sense of competence and accomplishment.Click to reveal all bullets on each side.In both examples, it is possible to explain the causation in either direction, (e.g. that ceremonies make commitments last OR that people in relationships that are more likely to last choose to have a ceremony) or even that both factors are explained by a third factor such as culture or socioeconomic status.Work satisfaction is also caused by other factors such as financial reward and control over work tasks and schedules. However, the factors listed above fit with the challenges of Erik Erikson’s psychosocial crisis of “generativity vs. stagnation.”
22 Well-Being across the Lifespan Life satisfaction, as measured by how close people feel to the “best possible life,” is apparently not a function of age.No animation.
23 Why do people claim to be happy even as their body declines? Older people attend less to negative information and more to positive information.They are also more likely to have accumulated many mildly positive memories, which last longer than mildly negative memories.Older people feel an increased sense of competence and control, and have greater stability in mood.Click to reveal bullets.The first finding may be related to recent research on the brain: with age, the amygdala responds less actively to negative events, but not less actively to positively events. There is generally less brain wave activity in response to negative images.
24 Managing the Aging Process: Biopsychosocial Factors Many factors can support well-being in old age.No animation.
25 Coping with Death and Dying Below is an average reaction to a spouse’s death.No animation.The word “average” is underlined because one of the biggest struggles in grieving is trying to rush or skip the grieving process, or feeling incompetent if one is not following the “normal” timeline for “moving on.”
26 Coping with Death and Dying Individual responses to death may vary.Grief is more intense when death occurs unexpectedly (especially if also too early on the social clock).There is NO standard pattern or length of the grieving process.It seems to help to have the support of friends or groups, and to face the reality of death and grief while affirming the value of life.Click to reveal bullets.
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