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Fredda Blanchard-Fields, Michelle Horhota & Andrew Mienaltowski

In: Handbook of Cognitive Aging: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Chapter 37: Social Context and Cognition

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Social Context and Cognition
Social context and cognition

There is a wealth of research showing that, in comparison to young adults, older adults' performance differs across a wide variety of cognitive tasks. Studies of the basic mechanics of cognition typically find declines in cognitive change and tie this change to physiological decline, especially when tasks are highly resource-dependent (Zacks, Hasher, & Li, 2000). Although this approach is important for identifying changes in basic cognitive processes, these studies may not accurately reflect the potential range of older adults skills and knowledge. Cognitive studies have traditionally not examined how social knowledge (e.g., beliefs about appropriate behavior in particular situations), emotions, and motivational factors affect cognition and reasoning that are necessary for successful cognitive functioning in an everyday context. ...

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