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Chapter Twenty-One Middle Adulthood: Cognitive Development PowerPoints prepared by Cathie Robertson, Grossmont College.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter Twenty-One Middle Adulthood: Cognitive Development PowerPoints prepared by Cathie Robertson, Grossmont College."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter Twenty-One Middle Adulthood: Cognitive Development PowerPoints prepared by Cathie Robertson, Grossmont College

2 What is Intelligence? For most of twentieth century, scientists and public assumed there was such a thing as intelligence, with general intelligence thought to be a single entity Now scientists believe it is more useful to look at adult intelligence as several distinct intellectual capacities

3 Studying Intelligence During the Twentieth Century Psychometricians disagreed about whether general intelligence rises or falls after age 20 or so

4 For first half of the twentieth century, psychologists were convinced, based on solid evidence, that intelligence declined over time –a classic cross-sectional study found that the average male: reached his intellectual peak at about age 18 intellectual decline began in mid-20s –hundreds of other cross-sectional studies in many nations also found younger adults outscored older adults on measures of intelligence Cross-Sectional Research

5 In 1955, Nancy Bayley and Melita Oden analyzed adult intelligence of child geniuses who had grown up –Found that most of the 36-year-olds were still improving in vocabulary, comprehension, and information Bayley wondered whether this group’s high intelligence during childhood had protected them from age-related decline Longitudinal Research

6 Longitudinal Research, cont. After further research, Bayley concluded –intellectual learning is unimpaired through age 36 and beyond –Longitudinal research showed that, over time, intellectual growth resulted from improvements in quality and extent of public education variety of cultural opportunities expanded media information

7 Longitudinal Research, cont. Bayley’s research also showed: –older adults previously tested often did not go beyond 8th grade and so did not fully develop their intelligence –each generation scores higher on IQ tests because each is better educated

8 Evidence for the Flynn effect—a trend toward increasing average IQ over generations—comes from research comparing test scores over time –in every country, younger cohorts outscored older ones –because of Flynn effect, widely-used IQ tests are renormed about every 15 years The Flynn Effect

9 Reasons for overall IQ rise –wider education and experience –better nutrition –fewer toxins –smaller family size The Flynn Effect, cont.

10 Longitudinal research better than cross-sectional, but still not perfect Schaie combined the two, his new design is called cross-sequential research –he tested cross-section of 500 adults of different age groups on 5 standard primary mental abilities = foundations of intelligence verbal meaning, spatial orientation, inductive reasoning, number ability, and word fluency Cross-Sequential Research

11 Cross-Sequential Research, cont. Schaie concluded people improve in most mental abilities until their 80s, at which point they fall below the mid-range performance of young adults Research in many nations confirmed Schaie’s general conclusion; for example, that of Baltes

12 Developmentalists are now looking at patterns of gains and losses in intellect over the adult years How many abilities are there? We will look at 4 different proposals Components of Intelligence: Many and Varied

13 Two Clusters: Fluid and Crystallized Intelligence Fluid Intelligence –flexible reasoning used to draw inferences, understand relations between concepts, and speedily process new ideas –person with this intelligence would be quick and creative with words and numbers, as well as enjoy intellectual puzzles –a test item for it might ask: what comes next in each series? BDACZBYA

14 Two Clusters: Fluid and Crystallized Intelligence, cont. Crystallized Intelligence –accumulation of facts, information, and knowledge that comes with education and experiences within a particular culture –a sample item to test for this might be: what would you do with a mango?

15 Three Forms of Intelligence: Sternberg Analytic –mental processes that foster academic proficiency by making possible efficient learning, remembering, and thinking –involves abstract planning, strategy selection, focused attention, and information processing

16 Three Forms of Intelligence: Sternberg, cont. Creative Intelligence –involves capacity to be intellectually flexible and innovative in new situations –divergent = diverse, innovative, and unusual solutions

17 Three Forms of Intelligence: Sternberg, cont. Practical Intelligence –involves capacity to adapt ones’ behavior to the contextual demands of a given situation –includes accurate grasp of expectations and needs of people involved and an awareness of skills needed

18 Schaie found 5 primary abilities –verbal meaning –spatial orientation –inductive reasoning –word fluency –number ability; this, unlike other 4 that increases from age 20 to the late 50s, shifts downward by age 40 After age 60, decreases small but statistically significant –cohort effect was found Five Primary Abilities

19 Eight Intelligences: Gardner Intelligences for –linguistic –logical-mathematical –musical –spatial –body-kinesthetic –naturalistic –social understanding (interpersonal) –self-understanding (intrapersonal)

20 Gardner’s Eight Intelligences, cont. Gardner believes most people have capacity to achieve minimal proficiency in each, but that every person is more gifted in some abilities than in others

21 Gardner’s Eight Intelligences, cont. Measuring intelligence reflects assumptions about what is measured; also cultures and families value different intelligences –psychometricians’ fears that most intelligence tests are valid measures of verbal and logical skills of North Americans, but not necessarily of people in other cultures

22 Culture and Abilities Cultural assumptions about aging affect concepts of intelligence and development of intelligence test –U.S. culture values youth and devalues age –abilities of youth (quick reaction time, etc.) are central to psychometric intelligence tests –strengths of older adults (recognizing and upholding traditions, etc.) not as valued

23 Culture and Abilities, cont. Psychometric evaluation of adult intelligence must consider cultural background of person and assumptions of test authors –culture becomes increasingly important when evaluating abilities of people as they age Education is a cultural manifestation

24 Selective Gains and Losses Many researchers believe that adults make deliberate choices about their intellectual development, separate from their culture or education

25 Optimization with Compensation Paul and Margaret Baltes developed theory called selective optimization with compensation –people try to maintain a balance in their lives by looking for the best way to compensate for physical and cognitive losses –try to become more proficient at activities they do well

26 Optimization with Compensation, cont. When selective optimization with compensation is applied to cognition –cognitive skills and achievements can be broken down into discrete components to maximize gains and minimize losses Cognition as Expertise

27 What Is Expert Cognition? Expert—someone notably more skilled and knowledgeable than average person is about a specific intellectual topic or practical ability Expert Thought –intuitive –automatic –strategic –flexible

28 Compared to novices, actions of experts are intuitive and less stereotypic –experts rely on accumulated experiences and immediate context Intuitive

29 Many aspects of expert performance are automatic –incoming information is processed more quickly and analyzed more efficiently –experts then act in well-rehearsed ways that make their efforts seem nonconscious Automatic

30 Experts distinguished by use of strategies –have better strategies and more of them –superior strategies allow for more selective optimization with compensation Strategic

31 Experts are more flexible –derives from their actions being intuitive, automatic, and strategic –also comes from their being creative and curious, deliberately experimenting and enjoying the challenge when things don’t go as planned Flexible

32 Expertise and Age Practice is crucial Motivation is crucial Expertise can sometimes overcome effects of age, but response time slower

33 Expertise on the Job Research on cognitive plasticity often shows the use of selective optimization with compensation –especially apparent in the everyday workplace Complicated work requires more cognitive practice and expertise than does routine work

34 Waiting on Tables Waiting on tables in a restaurant demands a wide range of cognitive skills –memory for orders –knowledge of menu items –delivery procedures –simultaneous management of several tables, each at a different stage of meal –ability to organize and prioritize tasks

35 Waiting on Tables, cont. Cognitive skills involved in waiting on tables, cont. –ability to monitor of social relations of customers and coworkers –physical stamina Perlmutter studied restaurant workers and found –older employees outperformed younger ones; had developed strategies to compensate for declining job-related abilities

36 Working in an Office Similar results for office workers were found by Salthouse Strategies are found by older workers to perform work that can accommodate cognitive changes

37 Expertise in Daily Life Developing expertise to cope with stress

38 The Stresses of Life Middle-aged adults in the thick of things –parents to teens, children of aging parents, and responsible at work –role overload needs strategies to deal with the stress that is everywhere Stressors—circumstances or events that damage a person’s physical or psychological well-being

39 Ways of Coping with Stress A stress may be ignored or considered important enough to be viewed as a challenge, not a threat –no damage to body from response to stress Psychologists have differentiated 2 major ways of coping with stress –problem-focused coping—attacking problem –emotion-focused coping—changing feelings about the stress


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