From to , we conducted a follow-up of all previous participants who could be retrieved as well as a new seventh wave. In addition, we began to collect blood for genotyping on the APOE gene and administered a neuropsychological test battery to participants aged 60 years or older cf.
This battery continues to be administered in a 3-year follow-up cycle. We also conducted a year follow-up for members of the family study and recruited additional eligible participants. Between study waves, in , we conducted a mail survey of health behaviors for those persons who had participated in the family study and the longitudinal and sixth-wave studies. This survey was used to develop a set of latent dimensions for the study of health behaviors Maier, ; Maitland, Finally, we recruited several hundred third-generation members those with at least one parent and one grandparent in the study to expand the family analyses.
Currently in progress are structural MRI studies of a sub-sample of individuals on whom we had previously obtained cognitive data in midlife. Throughout the history of the SLS, an effort now extending over 47 years, our focus has been on five major questions, which we have attempted to ask with greater clarity and increasingly more sophisticated methodologies at each successive stage of the study. These are elaborated next. Our studies have shown that there is no uniform pattern of age-related changes across all intellectual abilities, and that studies of an overall Index of Intellectual Ability IQ therefore do not suffice to monitor age changes and age differences in intellectual functioning for either individuals or groups.
Our data do lend some support to the notion that fluid abilities tend to decline earlier than crystallized abilities. There are, however, important ability-by-age, ability-by-gender, and ability-by-cohort interactions that complicate matters. Moreover, whereas fluid abilities begin to decline earlier, crystallized abilities appear to show steeper decrement once the late 70s are reached.
Although cohort-related differences in the rate and magnitude of age changes in intelligence remained fairly linear for cohorts who entered old age during the first three cycles of our study, these differences have since shown substantial shifts. For example, rates of decremental age change have abated somewhat, and at the same time modestly negative cohort trends are beginning to appear as we begin to study members of the baby boom generation. Also, patterns of socialization unique to a given gender role in a specific historical period may be a major determinant of the pattern of change in abilities.
More fine-grained analyses suggested, moreover, that there may be substantial gender differences as well as differential changes for those who decline and those who remain sturdy when age changes are decomposed into accuracy and speed. With multiple markers of abilities, we have conducted both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses of the invariance of ability structure over a wide age range. In longitudinal analyses, metric invariance obtains within cohorts over most of adulthood, except for the youngest and oldest cohorts.
Finally, we examined the relationship of everyday tasks to the framework of practical intelligence and perceptions of competence in everyday situations facing older persons. We have generally shown that reliably replicable average age decrements in psychometric abilities do not occur prior to age 60, but that such reliable decrement can be found for all abilities by 74 years of age.
Analyses from the most recent phases of the SLS, however, suggested that small but statistically significant average decrement can be found for some, but not all, cohorts beginning in the sixth decade. However, more detailed analyses of individual differences in intellectual change demonstrated that even at age 81, fewer than half of all observed individuals have shown reliable decremental change over the preceding 7 years. In addition, average decrement below age 60 amounts to less than 0.
As data from the SLS cover more cohorts and wider age ranges within individuals, they attain increasing importance in providing a normative base to determine at what ages declines reach practically significant levels of importance for public policy issues. Thus, our data have become relevant to issues such as mandatory retirement, age discrimination in employment, and prediction of proportions of the population that can be expected to live independently in the community.
These bases will shift over time because we have demonstrated in the SLS that both level of performance and rate of decline show significant age-by-cohort interactions. Results from the SLS have conclusively demonstrated the prevalence of substantial generational cohort differences in psychometric abilities.
These cohort trends differ in magnitude and direction by ability and therefore cannot be determined from composite IQ indices. As a consequence of these findings, it was concluded that cross-sectional studies used to model age change would overestimate age changes prior to the 60s for those variables that show negative cohort gradients and underestimate age changes for those variables with positive cohort gradients. Our studies of generational shifts in abilities have in the past been conducted with random samples from arbitrarily defined birth cohorts.
As a supplement and an even more powerful demonstration, we have also conducted family studies that compared performance levels for individuals and their adult children. By following the family members longitudinally, we are also able to provide data on differential rates of aging across generations. In addition, we have also recruited siblings of our longitudinal participants to obtain data that allow extending the knowledge base in the developmental behavior genetics of cognition to the adult level by providing data on parent-offspring and sibling correlations in adulthood.
The most powerful and unique contribution of a longitudinal study of adult development arises from the fact that only longitudinal data permit the investigation of individual differences in antecedent variables that lead to early decrement for some persons and maintenance of high levels of functioning for others into very advanced age.
A number of factors that account for these individual differences have been implicated; some of these have been amenable to experimental intervention. The variables that have been implicated in reducing risk of cognitive decline in old age have included a absence of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases; b a favorable environment mediated by high socioeconomic status; c involvement in a complex and intellectually stimulating environment; d flexible personality style atmidlife; e high cognitive status of spouse; and f maintenance of high levels of perceptual processing speed.
Because longitudinal studies permit tracking stability or decline on an individual level, it has also been feasible to carry out interventions designed to remediate known intellectual decline as well as to reduce cohort differences in individuals who have remained stable in their own performance over time but who have become disadvantaged when compared with younger peers. Findings from the cognitive training studies conducted with our longitudinal subjects under the primary direction of Sherry L. Willis suggested that observed decline in many community-dwelling older people might well be a function of disuse and is clearly reversible for many.
We have now extended these studies to include both a 7-year and a year follow-up that suggest the long-term advantage of cognitive interventions. The dialectical process between data collection and model building that has been part of the SLS has made possible substantial methodological advances in the design and analysis of studies of human development and aging.
Warner Schaie. Copyright notice. See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Influences from Neighboring Sciences The early introduction to the issues of cohort differences and secular trends led to serious questions as to what the meaning of these effects might be beyond their role as control variables or as bothersome design confounds.
The Study of Latent Constructs Until the fourth cycle of the SLS, we followed the then-conventional wisdom of assessing each primary ability with the observable marker variable deemed to be the most reliable and valid measure of the latent construct to be estimated. Explorations of Neuropsychology, the APOE Gene, and the NEO From to , we conducted a follow-up of all previous participants who could be retrieved as well as a new seventh wave. Objectives of the Seattle Longitudinal Study Throughout the history of the SLS, an effort now extending over 47 years, our focus has been on five major questions, which we have attempted to ask with greater clarity and increasingly more sophisticated methodologies at each successive stage of the study.
Methodological Issues The dialectical process between data collection and model building that has been part of the SLS has made possible substantial methodological advances in the design and analysis of studies of human development and aging. Open in a separate window. Contributor Information K. Age and experimental mortality in a seven-year longitudinal study of cognitive behavior. Developmental Psychology. Intergenerational issues in aging. New York: Springer Publishing Co. The relationship of social environment, social networks, and health outcomes in the Seattle Longitudinal Study: Two analytical approaches.
Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences. The relationship between prior functioning on cognitive and personality variables and subject attrition in longitudinal research. Journal of Gerontology. Monetary incentive age, cognition. Experimental Aging Research.
Selective attrition in longitudinal studies: A cohort sequential approach. Recent advances in gerontology. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Excerpta Medica; Complexity of life style and maintenance of intellectual abilities. Journal of Social Issues. Similarity in married couples: A longitudinal study of mental abilities and rigidity-flexibility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Regarding methods for studying behavioral development: The contributions and influence of K Warner Schaie. Research on Human Development. Cardiovascular disease and changes in intellectual functioning from middle to old age.
Nearly 60 years later, we cannot judge it as invalid for its time and subjects. Instead, we would do well to use his approach in our appraisal of contemporary persons—their developmental trajectory, psychosocial requirements, and concerns—against our changing world, its societies and institutions. We should also retain much of the ground plan he captured, for it remains relevant today.
Exceptions to this invariance have been found among some women who seem to have resolved intimacy prior to identity, in sociocentric largely Eastern cultures where identity issues are other than those of individualistic achievement, and in those settings in which the mutuality of intimacy is suborned or postponed due to arranged marriages or marriages in which males have multiple mates.
The first is to use his approach, but to chart adult developmental stages as they mirror changes in contemporary humans. Only then, if at all, might deep intimacy engagement follow. Thus, it depends on how one shuffles the life stage deck of cards. However, it is clear that adults do see themselves, presently and retrospectively, as living in various, sequential rooms of their adult lives. They speak of being, or of having been, young, middle aged, older, and aged, with psychosocial energies, content, and invested meaning-making that changes sequentially through time.
For, at its best, adulthood is always a changing landscape in which one partially closes the door to each room of life, and uses the developed investments, capacities, and understandings of each life space as ongoing resources to the developing self. In not entirely closing the doors on any of their prior rooms, adults continue to visualize themselves in, and applying energy to, the key content of those periods of life in order to sustain or partially undo prior developmental issues and outcomes.
The question then remains as to how current and future adults deploy their psychosocial energies, capacities, and variable stage-specific requirements in those critical periods of life. And, how do they use the developed capacities of childhood, adolescence, and their earlier adult stages as resources to themselves in the next life stage? We might ask, as Erikson did, what it is that is given in the ground plan of human design, its unfolding, and developmental readiness.
It has long been the case that biological readiness and deterioration factors, as well as facets of mental maturity, define the adult span. For example, mate-seeking characterizes the young adult years Buss, , and this is often followed by childbearing. Teen pregnancies pose risks for mothers and their infants, and the maternal years after age 35 are risky as well. Thus there are, perhaps, 15 years of young adulthood prime time. After age 35, for example, the risk of bearing a child with a chromosomal disorder i.
Risks of delivering premature and low birthweight infants also increase substantially after age 35 Tough et al. Thus, one might well conclude that the young adult years are indeed the best stage-specific time for bearing children, an outcome of heterosexual intimacy. Ethically, it is unthinkable to dispose of the next generation, or of other commitments that were born of the engaged work of the adult years.
This is an ethics of adult development as Erikson has been accused, but the alternatives are untenable. Returning to the fable that began this chapter, these two models are large scale representations of the complex human. Each model contains substantial data that importantly speak to the principle developmental fuel and environments that frame adults.
Two points are important: First, researchers can ill afford to include only one of these models as the exclusive way of framing and examining the human. Second, even when including both the contextual and the stage perspectives, these two models represent only two-thirds of the adult. A larger metamodel must express our thought, one that includes all three views and their intersecting attributes—those of context, stage, and biogenetics—if we are to avoid the reductionistic trap. The challenge to future theorists and researchers in adult development and learning is to incorporate content from within each of these models as we move forward to specify a view of the complete, human adult.
The third model, one not elaborated in this chapter, is that of biogenetics. This is the micro level which, when integrated with contextual and psychodynamic, life stage data, shows the interplay of all three sets of attributes. When placed in advantageous, middle-class home circumstances, the mean I.
Genetic endowment is thus not deterministic, but is altered by family resources and parental engagement. Among infants, early attachment and engagement are not just primary needs, which of course they are, but there is a complex relationship among genetics, brain plasticity, family environment, parental behavior, cognitive-emotional growth, and the healthy development of an intelligent, social being see also Cozolino, Among adults, recent data show that the adult brain and consequent adult functioning continue to change in important ways.
In areas that are critical to development and learning, the adult brain is plastic, forming new neurons, synapses, and capillaries. In particular, neuron growth has been found in the important dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, a location related to learning and memory Fillit et al. Such plasticity is reciprocal with learning engagement. For example, studying London taxi drivers, Maquire and colleagues found changes in the structure and function of the brain based on learning and experience.
London is a large city with an intricate web of roads and streets. For taxi drivers, an intensive two-year period of learning prepares drivers to immediately call forth from memory a visual map of locations, businesses, and routes without the help of road maps. Subjects with many years of driving experience showed greater hippocampal size than drivers with less experience. The questions we pose and the studies we design are profoundly affected by our view of the world and our models of the human.
It is important that we understand and incorporate the forces that have shaped and continue to shape the chronologically mature person. In this, perspectives and data are found within the biogenetic, the contextual, and the life stage models, for data from within each of these models are expressed in the adaptive human adult. As was elaborated throughout this chapter, these data necessarily include the nurturing others and important contexts in each unique life, attributes and forces of the broader sociocultural environment, the psychosocial content and resolutions of current and prior life stages, the structural and genetic equipment that was in place from the beginning and which changes its expression dynamically over time, and the way our adult sees the self in the present and into the future.
Humans are permeable to their immediate and prior social world, to evolving and interactive biological material, to their position in the connected, always unfolding life span, to national and cultural attributes, and to important others in their personal and work lives. I extend my sincere appreciation to my colleague Richard Lanthier and to an anonymous reviewer whose comments helped to refine this chapter. Challenges for the Current Service-Learning, Civic and Epistemological, Intraperso Research Synthesis and Meta We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site.
Contemporary Definitions: The Developing and Learning Adult Contemporary concepts now define adult development and learning in new and integrated ways. In adulthood, development is bi-directional for there are advances e. Contextual and Life Stage Models The Contextual Model In recent decades, psychologists have increasingly moved toward what I have described as the contextual foreground presented in the first section of this chapter. One Contextual Model, Two Contextual Thinkers Just as it is uniquely able to adapt to multiple env ironments, the human species is unique in its ability to design environments that, for better or worse, mold development.
Erikson's Psychodynamic Framework The Social, Cultural World Inside the Psyche In human development, Erik Erikson was the first developmental theorist in the United States to capture the contextual and the psychodynamic life stage frameworks as integrated entities. Concluding Premises The questions we pose and the studies we design are profoundly affected by our view of the world and our models of the human. Andersen, A. Maternal age and fetal loss: Population based register linkage study. British Medical Journal, , — Baltes, P.
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