Schoner, Giese, & Gielen, 1994). Issues of stability could thus become a unifying theme across many presently disparate areas of behavioral research. This approach is still in its early stages of development, but may prove important for understanding age-related changes in performance (e.g., Mandell & Shlesinger, 1990).
In summary, the present chapter has suggested that the stability of behavior is an important topic in the study of aging. Although much of the laboratory work on age-related slowing has used information processing tasks requiring discrete responses to a sequence of independent stimuli, some of the most important implications of age-related slowing may be in the control of dynamic processes over extended periods of time. New ways of measuring varieties of stability may provide insights into compensatory strategies for maintaining behavioral stability in older adults.
Areas of application of this approach may include a wide variety of behaviors such as postural control, sports activity, vehicular control, navigation, and decision making. Although control theoretic techniques from the engineering literature will provide a starting point, the effective adaptation of these techniques to the behavior of highly nonlinear, very stochastic, and highly individualized older adults is a significant challenge.
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