Elderly Adults' Perception of Their Own Cognitive Development During the Adult Years

Int J Aging Hum Dev. 1983;16(2):147-58. doi: 10.2190/KBVP-A13Q-433A-T8VY.


Individuals between the ages of sixty-five and seventy-five were asked a number of questions regarding which of their cognitive abilities they think have changed with age and, further, what factors they think are responsible for such age changes. Questions were asked in two areas of cognitive functioning--memory and problem solving. With respect to memory, the reports of the elderly adults corresponded well with the results of memory research, which indicates that most memory abilities tend to decrease with increasing age. The elderly adults suggested that activity level, amount of contact with the information to be remembered, practice remembering, the perceived importance of the information to be remembered, and expectations regarding changes in memory are all factors that may contribute to age changes in memory. With respect to problem solving, on the other hand, the reports of the elderly did not correspond with the research. Research indicates that such abilities probably decline with increasing age while the elderly reported that they think that their problem-solving abilities have actually increased with age. Factors that were mentioned as possible causes of the reported increases in problem-solving ability were experience, good health, and taking more time to solve a problem.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged / psychology*
  • Cognition*
  • Concept Formation
  • Female
  • Human Development
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Problem Solving
  • Self Concept*
  • Thinking