What Happens as a Person Ages? Positive Change? Negative Change?
When is a Person “Old(er)”?
Continuity vs Stages Figure 11.7 Stage theories of development. Some theories view development as a relatively continuous process, albeit not as smooth and perfectly linear as depicted on the left. In contrast, stage theories assume that development is marked by major discontinuities (as shown on the right) that bring fundamental, qualitative changes in capabilities or characteristic behavior.
Adolescence Developmental period ~ ages 12 to 18 Many biological, perceptual, cognitive, social, and personality traits change from childlike to adultlike Puberty Developmental period between the ages of 9 and 17 when the individual experiences significant biological changes that result in developing secondary sex characteristics and reaching sexual maturity Developmental period between the ages of 9 and 17 when the individual experiences significant biological changes that result in developing secondary sex characteristics and reaching sexual maturity
Erikson’s Ages of Human Development Young Adulthood Young adults come to terms with the importance of companionship and connection Young adults come to terms with the importance of companionship and connection “Shall I share my life with another person or live alone?” “Shall I share my life with another person or live alone?” The central conflict of early adulthood is that of intimacy versus isolation. But consider an example framed in terms of continuity: Teen suicide in aboriginals (Chandler)
Young Adulthood The beginning of young adulthood is marked by commitments in the areas of career, relationships and lifestyle. Knowledge gathering Expanding social networks/roles The quality of the period known as middle age is influenced in part by the outcome of these early adult decisions.
Erikson’s Ages of Human Development Middle Age In the middle of adulthood one wants to feel that they have contributed to society in some meaningful way – In the middle of adulthood one wants to feel that they have contributed to society in some meaningful way – “Will I add anything of real value to the world as a worker and a parent?”“Will I add anything of real value to the world as a worker and a parent?” The conflict of middle adulthood is the desire to achieve generativity versus stagnation.
Middle Adulthood The Midlife Transition The “midlife crisis” is a dramatic expression for the reassessment of personal goals that many people experience. The “midlife crisis” is a dramatic expression for the reassessment of personal goals that many people experience. A more low-key and accurate term is midlife transition.A more low-key and accurate term is midlife transition. Some abandon unrealistic goals set in youth and set new goals that fit with their current lives.Some abandon unrealistic goals set in youth and set new goals that fit with their current lives. Others try to fulfill some of those early life dreams, or set new ones.Others try to fulfill some of those early life dreams, or set new ones.
Erikson’s Ages of Human Development Old Age The reality that time is growing short forces people to face a final and profound question – The reality that time is growing short forces people to face a final and profound question – “Have I lived a full and meaningful life, or have I squandered my time?”“Have I lived a full and meaningful life, or have I squandered my time?” As older adults we struggle to determine whether we have arrived at a stage of ego integrity versus despair.
Old Adulthood Despite the stereotypes we hold, old age is not a uniform experience for humans Some deteriorate rapidly physically and/or intellectually Some deteriorate rapidly physically and/or intellectually Shrinking social networks/roles (isolation) Shrinking social networks/roles (isolation) Others remain active and alert into their 80s and later Others remain active and alert into their 80s and later Knowledge giving Knowledge giving In general, the elderly in our society have been experiencing improved health, activity and intellect. In general, the elderly in our society have been experiencing improved health, activity and intellect.
Demographics: Booms & Echoes
The “Aging Population”: Prevalence: How many in the total population affected by a condition at a given time Incidence: How many new cases in a given time Longevity Health Education/Literacy Education/Literacy Career Career Wealth Happiness (Quality of Life)
The Shape of the Population
Lifespan Perspective: Defining Age Chronological Age Legal (retirement/pension) Experiences (world events) Genetic clocks Generational Cohort Peer Comparisons Self-perception Available Time Physical Status Growth vs Decline Activity Profile (Cognitive) Quantity/Quality Participation (Social) [In(ter)]dependence?
Research Questions What changes with age? Positive and/or negative change? Positive and/or negative change? Why does it change with age? (Is it really “aging”?) Causes (genetic, environmental) Causes (genetic, environmental) Predisposing conditions (genetic, environmental) Predisposing conditions (genetic, environmental) What could counteract change? Early intervention to prevent (e.g., diet, education, lifestyle) Early intervention to prevent (e.g., diet, education, lifestyle) Cure (e.g., drugs, surgery) Cure (e.g., drugs, surgery) Assistive technology (e.g., glasses, walker) Assistive technology (e.g., glasses, walker) Rehab to cope/compensate (e.g., retraining, counselling) Rehab to cope/compensate (e.g., retraining, counselling) Fountain of Youth Longevity – Preservation and/or Regeneration of Function
Research Designs Cross-sectional (between subjects comparisons)(between subjects comparisons) Simulations?Simulations? Longitudinal (within subjects process over time)(within subjects process over time) Retrospective Retrospective Prospective Prospective Intervention Intervention Hybrid
Figure 11.4 Longitudinal versus cross-sectional research. In a longitudinal study of development between ages 6 and 10, the same children would be observed at 6, again at 8, and again at 10. In a cross-sectional study of the same age span, a group of 6-year-olds, a group of 8-year-olds, and a group of 10-year- olds would be compared simultaneously. Note that data collection could be completed immediately in the cross-sectional study, whereas the longitudinal study would require four years to complete.
Table 10.5 (Kalat, Introduction to Psychology) Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Studies
Sources of Bias Selective attrition differential survival differential survival increased probability of some kinds of subjects dropping out. increased probability of some kinds of subjects dropping out. Cohort effects bias created because groups of contemporaries all have the same experience, knowledge or behaviors. bias created because groups of contemporaries all have the same experience, knowledge or behaviors.
Hybrid Design Victoria Longitudinal Study (http://web.uvic.ca/psyc/VLS/index-projects.html)
Research Approaches Experimental Group Group Correlational Correlational Case Study Observation Observation Interviews/Narratives Interviews/Narratives Population Survey Stats Canada Stats Canada
Aging Mind and Brain Same Performance More widespread activation ~ brain reorganization Deterioration or Compensation?
Predicament & Enchancement Models of Communication & Aging Ageist Stereotypes fuel communicative incompetence. Dependent behaviours are reinforced and independent behaviours are ignored by nurses in residents of care facilities (Margaret Baltes). Ryan EB, Giles H, Bartolucci G, Henwood K. Psycholinguistic and social psychological components of communication by and with the elderly. Language and Communication 1986;6:1-24. Ryan EB, Meredith SD, Maclean MJ, Orange JB. Changing the way we talk with elders: Promoting health using the Communication Enhancement Model. International Journal of Aging and Human Development 1995;41:
Key Finding: Early experiences influence latter life Example from aging research: “Nun’s Study” Those who wrote more complex language did not show symptoms of dementia in Alzheimer’s disease Those who wrote more complex language did not show symptoms of dementia in Alzheimer’s disease Snowdon, D.A., Kemper, S., J.A. Greiner, L.H., Wekstein, D.R., Markesbery, W.R. (1996). Cognitive ability in early life and cognitive function and Alzheimer's disease in late life: Findings from the Nun Study. J American Medical Association, 275,
Key Finding: Age differences in memory are diminished when contextual support is available. Free recall “What did you learn last week?” > Cued recall “Last week you learned about which two experimental designs?” > Recognition recall “Last week did you learn about cross-sectional and longitudinal designs?”
Key Finding: Knowledge is enhance/preserved Processing is slowed Perception Perception Cognition Cognition Performance varies with time/timing of task components
Key Finding: Sensory & Cognitive Aging Linked Sensory and cognitive processing both decline with age: Coincidence or not? Hypotheses: 1. Deprivation 2. Information Degradation 3. Cognitive Load on Perception 4. Common Cause Lindenberger U, Baltes PB. Sensory functioning and intelligence in old age: A strong connection. Psych Aging 1994;9:
Older Listeners: Models & Hypotheses Modular vs Integrated Systems Schneider BA, Pichora-Fuller MK. Implications of perceptual deterioration for cognitive aging research. In: Craik FIM, Salthouse TA, eds, The Handbook of Aging and Cognition, 2nd ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000; 3:
UTM Research: Equating for Perceptual Difficulty during Cognitive Processing to Test the Information Degradation Hypothesis Would old do as well as young if cognitive measures were tested under enhanced perceptual conditions? Would young do as poorly as old if cognitive measures were tested under degraded perceptual conditions? Is it really aging or just hearing loss?
Speech Perception in Noise Test Pichora-Fuller MK, Schneider BA, Daneman M. How young and old adults listen to and remember speech in noise. J Acoust Soc Am 1995; 97: 8 lists of 50 sentences Half low-context Half low-context John did not talk about the feast. Half high-context Half high-context The wedding banquet was a feast. Repeat last word of sentence Vary S:N Conversation at 65 dB SPL Conversation at 65 dB SPL Noise in home at 50 dB SPL Noise in home at 50 dB SPL + 15 dB S:N in quiet living room + 15 dB S:N in quiet living room - 2 dB S:N in subway/aircraft - 2 dB S:N in subway/aircraft
Effect of Simulated Auditory Aging on Working Memory Span Brown S, Pichora-Fuller MK. Temporal jitter mimics the effects of aging on word identification and word recall in noise. Canadian Acoustics 2000;28:
Noise and Discourse Comprehension Schneider BA, Daneman M, Murphy D, Kwong See S. Listening to discourse in distracting settings: The effects of aging. Psych Aging 2000;15:
Final Comment Should we think about older adults like younger adults performing under stressful conditions?