Younger and older adults collaborating on retelling everyday stories

  • Dixon R
  • Gould O
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Although much persuasive evidence pertaining to cognitive decline with aging has accumulated, some recent research (e.g., K. W. Schaie, 1996) has been directed at examining the conditions under which maintenance of cognitive competence into late life may be observed. Given that older adults perform many everyday cognitive activities in interactive situations, it is possible that collaboration may be a means of compensating for individual-level cognitive decline. In 2 experiments, the authors examine collaborative performance for a typical episodic memory task, retelling a complex story. In the 1st experiment, the authors compared 84 younger (mean age 24.4 yrs) and 84 older (mean age 67.9 yrs) individuals to unacquainted dyads and tetrads, homogeneous with respect to age and sex. Results indicate that both age groups benefited equally from the presence of collaborators and that the groups produced qualitatively coherent retold stories. In the 2nd experiment, the authors compared the collaborative performance of 10 younger (mean age 29.4 yrs) and 10 older (mean age 71.6 yrs) married couples. Their recall performance was equivalent and superior to that of the older dyads and tetrads of the first experiment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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  • Roger A. Dixon

  • Odette N. Gould

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