Testing-the-limits and the study of adult age differences in cognitive plasticity of a mnemonic skill

  • Investigated the range and limits of cognitive reserve capacity as a general approach to the understanding of age differences in cognitive functioning. Testing-the-limits is proposed as a research strategy, Data are reported from 2 training studies involving old (65 to 83 years old) and young adults (19 to 29 years old). The training, designed to engineer an expertise in serial word recall, involved instruction and practice in the Method of Loci. Substantial plasticity was evident in pretest to posttest comparisons. Participants raised their serial word recall several times above that of pretest baseline. Age-differential limits in reserve capacity were evident in amount of training gain but not in responses to conditions of increased test difficulty (speeded stimulus presentation). Group differences were magnified by the training to such a degree that age distributions barely overlapped at posttests. Testing-the-limits offers promise in terms of understanding the extent and nature of cognitive plasticity.

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Author:Reinhold Kliegl, Jacqui Smith, Paul B. Baltes
Series (Serial Number):Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Humanwissenschaftliche Reihe (paper 153)
Document Type:Postprint
Year of Completion:1989
Publishing Institution:Universität Potsdam
Release Date:2009/12/22
Source:Developmental Psychology, 25 (1989) 2, S. 247-256, ISSN 1939-0599, DOI 10.1037/0012-1649.25.2.247
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Psychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoKeine Nutzungslizenz vergeben - es gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht
Notes extern:
The original publication is within the university network available at web.ebscohost.com:
Developmental Psychology. - 25 (1989) Issue 2, p. 247-256
ISSN 1939-0599
DOI 10.1037/0012-1649.25.2.247