How Senior Citizens Function So Well Despite Declining Cognitive Ability

How Senior Citizens Function So Well Despite Declining Cognitive Ability

Senior citizens almost universally show decline in their cognitive ability as they age, but they often do not seem to suffer in their ability to cope with decisions in their work or daily life. A psychology researcher at North Carolina State University thinks it is something he calls “selective engagement.”

A key to the puzzle appears to be how motivated older adults are to maintain focus on cognitive tasks.

“My research team and I wanted to explain the difference we see in cognitive performance in different settings,” says Dr. Tom Hess, a professor of psychology at NC State and author of a paper describing the theory.

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