Middle-aged adult case history
Recently there have been changes in psychology especially in relation to aging. In this regards, as people grow older, distinct psychological changes are observed. The changes can be positive or negative. In an attempt to decipher the matter on how functionality of cognitive has been affected by the factor of aging, evaluation of historical cases is necessary. The evaluation shades light to popular perception that, cognitive functionality declines as people age. Contrary to the popular perception, studies indicate that there is enormous variation between cognitive decline and age. As a matter of fact, cognitive functionality of some older people is better than that of middle-aged people. Popular perception states, cognitive performance of young and middle-aged people is much better than that of older people (Glisky, 2007). However, the interesting part arises when we evaluate a study conducted by Gunstad and others. In this study, cognitive performance of older people in some cognitive domains was better than that of middle aged and young people (Gunstad, et al, 2006).
In an attempt to explain the variation in cognitive functionality in different ages, aging researchers have been able to come up with theories in various cognitive domains. Cognitive domains include, attention domain, working memory domain and long-term memory domain. First, in attention domain, studies indicate that older people have a better cognitive performance in the aspect of switching attention than middle-aged people (Gunstad et al, 2006, 61). Attention switching theory and sustained attention theories explain the findings in this study. In regards to these theories, older people are able to maintain concentration in a particular thing than middle-aged people. In other words, middle-aged people perform poorly than older people in vigilance tasks (Glisky, 2007)
Second, domain of working memory, especially recalling of digits backwards, the popular perception persist. In regards to this, cognitive performance in working memory declines with age. Studies indicate it to be the case because the process requires division of attention. The theory attentional resources indicate that young people have significant mental strength. As a results to this fact, young people are able to divide attention into various parameters without deficiencies, whereas, this is not the case with middle-aged and old people. Working memory requires attention resources. Older people have limited resources, as a result, engagement in this cognitive domain result into straining of attentional resources (Glisky, 2007)
Third, cognitive performance of people to recall things decline as age increases. Explanation behind this is that the process of remembering requires attentional resources. Therefore, young people remember more details regarding situations than middle-aged and older people (Glisky, 2007). However, in cases where one is required to recall things experienced in the past, his/her cognitive performance is better than that of a young person. Sematic memory theory explains the ability of older people to recall information better than young and middle-aged people do. Gunstad (2006), indicate that, cognitive performance of middle–aged people in verbal recall was slower than that of older and young people. In regards to this, older people recall history better than middle-aged people (Glisky, 2007).
In conclusion, even though age is associated with varying cognitive performance of most people, studies indicate the contrary. In some varying cognitive domains, older people perform better than young and middle-aged people do. In regards to this latter revelation, cognitive functionality of middle-aged people is poor than that of young and older people.
Glisky, Elizabeth L. “Changes in cognitive function in human aging.” Brain aging: models, methods, and mechanisms (2007): 3-20.
Gunstad, John, et al. “Patterns of cognitive performance in middle-aged and older adults: A cluster analytic examination.” Journal of geriatric psychiatry and neurology 19.2 (2006): 59-64.