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PSYCHOLOGY 100 January 29/30, 2003 “Lifespan Development” Chapter 11 (continued). Kathy Pichora-Fuller. What Happens as a Person Ages?. Positive Change? Negative Change?. When is a Person “Old(er)”?. Figure 11.7

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Psychology 100 january 29 30 2003 lifespan development chapter 11 continued

PSYCHOLOGY 100January 29/30, 2003“Lifespan Development”Chapter 11 (continued)

Kathy Pichora-Fuller

What happens as a person ages
What Happens as a Person Ages?

  • Positive Change?

  • Negative Change?

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.

Continuity vs Stages




  • 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

Erikson s ages of human development
Erikson’s Ages of Human Development

  • Young Adulthood

    • Young adults come to terms with the importance of companionship and connection

    • “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
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 development1
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 –

      • “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
Middle Adulthood


  • The Midlife Transition

    • 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.

      • 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.

Erikson s ages of human development2
Erikson’s Ages of Human Development

  • Old Age

    • 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?”

  • As older adults we struggle to determine whether we have arrived at a stage of ego integrity versus despair.

Old adulthood
Old Adulthood


  • Despite the stereotypes we hold, old age is not a uniform experience for humans

    • Some deteriorate rapidly physically and/or intellectually

    • Shrinking social networks/roles (isolation)

    • Others remain active and alert into their 80s and later

    • Knowledge giving

    • In general, the elderly in our society have been experiencing improved health, activity and intellect.




Demographics booms echoes
Demographics: Booms & Echoes

The aging population
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

    • Career

  • Wealth

  • Happiness (Quality of Life)

  • The shape of the population
    The Shape of the Population






    Lifespan perspective defining age
    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?

    Healthy successful aging
    Healthy (“Successful”) Aging

    • Maturity

      • Growth Completed

    • Strength/Skill

      • Experience/Expertise

    • Knowledge

      • Wisdom

    • Independence

      • Wealth

    • Contribution to Others

      • Leadership

    Negative aspects ageist stereotypes
    Negative Aspects: Ageist Stereotypes?

    Research questions
    Research Questions

    • What changes with age?

      • Positive and/or negative change?

    • Why does it change with age? (Is it really “aging”?)

      • Causes (genetic, environmental)

      • Predisposing conditions (genetic, environmental)

    • What could counteract change?

      • Early intervention to prevent (e.g., diet, education, lifestyle)

      • Cure (e.g., drugs, surgery)

      • Assistive technology (e.g., glasses, walker)

      • Rehab to cope/compensate (e.g., retraining, counselling)

        Fountain of Youth

        Longevity – Preservation and/or Regeneration of Function

    Research designs
    Research Designs

    • Cross-sectional

      • (between subjects comparisons)

      • Simulations?

  • Longitudinal

    • (within subjects process over time)

      • Retrospective

      • Prospective

      • 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
    Sources of Bias

    • Selective attrition

      • differential survival

      • 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.

    Hybrid design victoria longitudinal study http web uvic ca psyc vls index projects html
    Hybrid DesignVictoria Longitudinal Study(

    Research approaches
    Research Approaches

    • Experimental

      • Group

      • Correlational

    • Case Study

      • Observation

      • Interviews/Narratives

    • Population Survey

      • Stats Canada

    Aging mind and brain
    Aging Mind and Brain

    • Same Performance

    • More widespread activation ~ brain reorganization

    • Deterioration or Compensation?

    Predicament enchancement models of communication aging
    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;41:89-107.

    Key finding


    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

        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, 528-532.

    "Use it or lose it."

    Key finding1


    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 finding2


    Key Finding:

    • Knowledge is enhance/preserved

    • Processing is slowed

      • Perception

      • Cognition

    • Performance varies with time/timing of task components

    Key finding sensory cognitive aging linked
    Key Finding: Sensory & Cognitive Aging Linked

    Sensory and cognitive processing both decline with age: Coincidence or not?


    • Deprivation

    • Information Degradation

    • Cognitive Load on Perception

    • Common Cause

      Lindenberger U, Baltes PB. Sensory functioning and intelligence in old age: A strong connection. Psych Aging 1994;9:339-55.

    Older listeners models hypotheses
    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: 155-219.

    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 TestPichora-Fuller MK, Schneider BA, Daneman M. How young and old adults listen to and remember speech in noise. J Acoust Soc Am 1995; 97:593-608.

    • 8 lists of 50 sentences

      • Half low-context

        John did not talk about the feast.

      • Half high-context

        The wedding banquet was a feast.

    • Repeat last word of sentence

    • Vary S:N

      • Conversation at 65 dB SPL

      • Noise in home at 50 dB SPL

      • + 15 dB S:N in quiet living room

      • - 2 dB S:N in subway/aircraft

    Effect of Simulated Auditory Aging on Working Memory SpanBrown S, Pichora-Fuller MK. Temporal jitter mimics the effects of aging on word identification and word recall in noise. Canadian Acoustics 2000;28:126-128.

    Noise and Discourse ComprehensionSchneider BA, Daneman M, Murphy D, Kwong See S. Listening to discourse in distracting settings: The effects of aging. Psych Aging 2000;15:110-125.

    Final comment
    Final Comment

    • Should we think about older adults like younger adults performing under stressful conditions?