The performance of older adults and depressed people on linear order reasoning is hypothesized to be best explained by different theoretical models. Whereas depressed younger adults are found to be impaired in generative inference making, older adults are well capable of making such inferences but exhibit problems with working memory (Experiments 1 and 2). Restriction of the available study time impairs reasoning by nondepressed control participants and. as such, proves to be a good model of older adults' but not depressed participants' limitations (Experiment 3). These results are replicated comparing depressed and older participants with a control group in the same study, providing increased power and linking the results to additional control measures of processing speed and working memory (Experiment 4).
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