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Adult age differences in errand planning: the role of task familiarity and cognitive resources


Kliegel, M; Martin, Mike; McDaniel, M A; Phillips, L H (2007). Adult age differences in errand planning: the role of task familiarity and cognitive resources. Experimental Aging Research, 33(2):145-161.

Abstract

This study examines the effects of age, cognitive resources and task familiarity on planning performance. 52 young and 52 old adults completed one of two errand planning tasks. The tasks were matched for structure, difficulty and format, but differed in content, such that one planning task required planning a real-world shopping tour whereas the other involved planning an unfamiliar space tour. In addition, we assessed participants' memory capacity, speed of processing, inhibition, and memory for relevant versus irrelevant task features. Results revealed no age differences for the real-world planning material. In contrast, old adults performed worse than young adults in the artificial planning task. Data are discussed in the context of old adults possibly being able to compensate for cognitive deficits in speed and inhibition by selectively allocating resources to relevant task elements, but only if they perform a planning task containing elements that approximate their real-world experience with errand planning problems.

This study examines the effects of age, cognitive resources and task familiarity on planning performance. 52 young and 52 old adults completed one of two errand planning tasks. The tasks were matched for structure, difficulty and format, but differed in content, such that one planning task required planning a real-world shopping tour whereas the other involved planning an unfamiliar space tour. In addition, we assessed participants' memory capacity, speed of processing, inhibition, and memory for relevant versus irrelevant task features. Results revealed no age differences for the real-world planning material. In contrast, old adults performed worse than young adults in the artificial planning task. Data are discussed in the context of old adults possibly being able to compensate for cognitive deficits in speed and inhibition by selectively allocating resources to relevant task elements, but only if they perform a planning task containing elements that approximate their real-world experience with errand planning problems.

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24 citations in Web of Science®
27 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:April 2007
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:29
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:22
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0361-073X
Additional Information:This is an electronic version of an article published in Experimental Aging Research 2007, 33(2):145-161. Experimental Aging Research is available online at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/routledg/uear/2007/00000033/00000002/art00003.
Publisher DOI:10.1080/03610730601177395
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-2217

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