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The Intelligence and Aging of People - Essay Example

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The paper "The Intelligence and Aging of People" discusses that planning of instructions and working out study programs should be based on the specific characteristics of the learner in order to enhance their capacity to learn and to better process information…
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The Intelligence and Aging of People
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Intelligence and Aging
There is such statement that due to the irreversible process of aging people tend to lose their intelligence. Due to physiological and psychological aging of the body, brain cells also tend to age and get ruined with the time. However, it would be wrong to state that the elderly people are not intelligible. Also, it should be noted that the recent researches are predominantly focused on the phenomenon of intellectual changes during the adulthood.
There are several approaches to defining the notion of intelligence. The most popular approaches are traditional, biological, and individual differences approach. Depending on the definition of the term intelligence, it can either be decreasing with age (when defined as unitary property), or it can be increasing with age (when defined as entity consisting of multiple factors) (Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner, 2007). There are many studies that prove that fact that aging does not necessarily mean reduction of intelligence.
In one of the researches the authors present their findings based on various tests which help to analyze long and short-term memory tasks of older adults aging (ages 60 through 80) and younger adults (ages 18 through 30) (Bartlett, 2002). The aim of the research was to analyze how aging and experience might affect different aspects of cognition. This research was conducted on the basis of variety of tasks. It was found that there were little to no age effect. Moreover, it was concluded that both adult and young participants of the study equally benefited from the “usefulness of domain-specific musical knowledge” (Barlett, 2002, p. 18). Interesting, aging was in many tasks considered more beneficial than experience. Finally, the researchers found that there were no relationships between aging and music cognition skills; besides, they never found that age differences were reduced in persons who had had more ears of musical practice. The research based on musical experience may be transferred to other domains of cognition. Thus, it could be concluded that aging should not be viewed as some negative process of adulthood, but rather as the ability to get to a bank of cognition resources.
Another interesting research titled Effects of Adult Aging on Utilization of Temporal and Semantic Associations during Free and Serial Recall was published in Memory & Cognition Journal in 2008. The researchers agree that decrease in the level of memory functioning is affected by aging. The authors compared the use of temporal and semantic associations in young and older adults’ word list recall based on specific instructions. Older adults demonstrated weakened use of temporal context in recall. Besides, their temporal associations were also not so effective like those of the young adults. And, unfortunately, the results proved that “older adults perform worse than young adults in both free and serial recall” (Golomb, Peelle, Addis, & Wingfield, 2008, p. 954). One of the positive aspects regarding older learners is the fact that they need a longer presentation time to recall the things. These findings should be taken into account by educators teaching adult learners, because they help to better understand how an adult learner learns and recalls information.
Taking into consideration the findings of these researches it should be noted that a professional educator teaching adult learners should know some of the basic specifics of teaching this category of learners. Individual differences approach seems to be one of the most optimal approaches to the study of intelligence in adulthood. Therefore, planning of instructions and working out study programs should be based on the specific characteristics (like memory, information recall, etc.) of the learner in order to enhance their capacity to learn and to better process information.
Bartlett, H. (2002). “Aging and Memory for Music: A Review.” Psychomusicology, 18 (102), 10-27. Retrieved November 25, 2011, from
Golomb, J.D., Peelle, J.E., Addis, K.M., & Wingfield, M.J. (2008). “Effects of Adult Aging on Utilization of Temporal and Semantic Associations during Free and Serial Recall.” Memory & Cognition, 36(5), 947-956. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from
Merriam, S.B., Caffarella, R.S., and Baumgartner, L.M. (2007). Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide. (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Read More
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