Social and Motivational Compensatory Mechanisms for Age-Related Cognitive Decline

1st Edition

Grzegorz Sedek, Paul Verhaeghen, Mike Martin

Psychology Press
Published May 24, 2017
Reference - 346 Pages
ISBN 9781138115866 - CAT# Y337390
Series: Special Issues of Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition

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Summary

Although many aspects of fluid cognition decline with advancing age, simple observation in the wild suggests that older adults, generally speaking, do very well in their day-to-day life. The study of the orchestration of cognitive, social, and motivational compensatory mechanisms in the service of effective and healthy aging provides a meaningful challenge to traditional ways of examining developmental changes in cognitive performance. An additional impetus comes from recent discoveries in the neuroscience of aging, all demonstrating substantial amounts of functional modifiability, compensation, and plasticity of the human brain, even in very old age. Furthermore, the discovery of string relationships between engagement in mentally enriching and socially stimulating activities and cognitive health and longevity has sparked a new generation of training studies aimed at improving or sustaining cognitive fitness in old age.

This book examines the role of compensatory mechanisms in such diverse facets of cognitive processing as perceptual processes, text comprehension, dual-task processing, and episodic and prospective memory. This ensemble of studies compellingly shows that older adults’ everyday cognitive life is governed not by the decline in elementary cognitive processes as measured in the lab, but by a multitude of compensatory mechanisms, most of which are of the social/motivational variety. Much of this compensatory behavior can be elicited with no or only little experimental prodding, underscoring the self-organizing or self-initiated nature of this type of behavior, even in advanced old age.

This book was originally published as a special issue of Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition.

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