A Coconstructionist View of the Third Age: The Case of Cognition1

By Willis, Sherry L.; Schaie, K. Warner | Annual Review of Gerontology & Geriatrics, January 1, 2006 | Go to article overview

A Coconstructionist View of the Third Age: The Case of Cognition1


Willis, Sherry L., Schaie, K. Warner, Annual Review of Gerontology & Geriatrics


In this chapter, we propose a coconstructionist model for the study of development within the Third Age using cognition as the sample case. In the first part of the chapter, we focus on the predecessors of cognitive development during the Third Age that occur in young adulthood and midlife. A coconstructionist view of cognition includes the identification of sets of neurobiologic and sociocultural influences whose role in affecting cognitive change during the Third Age will be considered. Two life span perspectives inform our model: The dual intelligence perspective proposed by Horn and Cattell (1967) and subsequently discussed by Baltes and colleagues, and second, the recent Coconstructionist perspective proposed by Baltes and colleagues (Baltes, 1997; Li, 2003; Li & Freund, 2005).

LIFE SPAN PERSPECTIVE OF DEVELOPMENT

A central task of life span psychology is to understand the interactive and dynamic nature of contextual and individual influences on development (Bakes, 1997; Li & Freund, 2005; Schaie, 2005). This dynamic interaction between individual and contextual influences leads to considerable variability in development-inter-individual differences in intra-individual change. Although inter-individual variability in intra-individual change is a tenet of the life span perspective, most cognitive aging studies have focused primarily on the normative pattern of cognitive change over a given age range.

Variability in intra-individual development becomes even more complex when studied over historical time, in identifying cohort differences in variability in intra-individual change. Given the challenges of examining cohort trends in intra-individual change, most research has been limited to a comparison of at most two cohorts at a single developmental period, such as the Third Age and on one or two cognitive domains. Moreover, these studies have focused on normative patterns of cohort differences in cognition and thus have not addressed variability in the pattern of individual differences in intra-individual change that would be expected to occur across cohorts. We also consider here how cognition in the Third Age has changed over historical time.

THE COCONSTRUCTIVE PERSPECTIVE

Both neurobiologie and sociocultural influences on development have long been recognized. Coevolutionary theorists (Dunham, 1991; Tomasello, 1999) maintain that both biologic and cultural evolution has occurred and that recent, cohort-related advances in human development in domains such as intelligence can be attributed largely to cumulative cultural evolution. Cultural activities impact the environment, thereby influencing mechanisms such as selection processes, and thus allowing humans to codirect their own evolution (Dunham, 1991). Baltes' coconstructionist approach imposes a life span developmental perspective on revolutionary theory and provides principles regarding the timing of the varying contributions of neurobiology and culture at different developmental periods and across different domains of functioning. Three principles are proposed regarding the relative contributions of biology and culture influences across the life span:

1. The beneficial effects of the evolutionary selection process occur primarily in early life and are less likely to optimize development in the latter half of life.

2. Further advances in human development depend on ever-increasing cultural resources. From a historical perspective, increases in cultural resources have occurred via cumulative cultural evolution and have resulted in humans reaching higher levels of functioning. At the individual level, increasing cultural resources are required at older ages for further development to occur or to prevent age-related losses. The implication then, for the Third Age, is that cultural resources become increasingly important.

3. In very old age, the efficacy of increasing cultural resources is diminished because decline in neurobiologic functions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Coconstructionist View of the Third Age: The Case of Cognition1
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.