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Sherry L. Willis & K. Warner Schaie

In: Middle Adulthood: A Lifespan Perspective

Chapter Eight: Cognitive Trajectories in Midlife and Cognitive Functioning in Old Age

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Cognitive Trajectories in Midlife and Cognitive Functioning in Old Age
Cognitive trajectories in midlife and cognitive functioning in old age
Sherry L.WillisK. WarnerSchaie

A major distinction among lifespan psychological theories is their differing position on stability versus change in middle age. Theories focusing on aspects of ego development or the self have suggested that major intrapsychic changes occur in midlife (Erikson, 1980; Levinson, 1978; Whitbourne, 1986). These theories focus on qualitative change and vary in the extent to which change is considered normative or universal. The midlife crisis first described by Jaques (1965) and expanded on by Levinson (1978) represents the most dramatic example of intrapsychic change said to occur in middle age.

Trait theories, in contrast, such as those concerned with personality (Costa & McCrae, 1980; McCrae ...

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