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This edition: Middle Adulthood: Cognitive Development

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Episode Details

This lesson focuses on the cognition of midlife adults. Adults at any age can continue to grow and expand intellectually, particularly because they become adept at compensating for decreases in cognitive ability in a variety of ways. Genetics, age, environment, and experience all influence cognition. Individuals in middle adulthood have accumulated life experiences that affect their crystallized intelligence even when the processing abilities associated with fluid intelligence may have already peaked and are in decline. The lesson explores various methods of measuring general intelligence and considers the multidimensionality of intelligence. Other topics include Sternberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence, the comparative benefits of studying birth cohorts (longitudinal studies) versus conducting cross-sectional studies, and the plasticity of intelligence.