Stereotypes inhibition in syllogistic reasoning. Changes related to age and time measurement repetition during study
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The aim of this study was to verify the hypothesis saying that older people on average achieve a lower level of performance than younger at solving syllogisms which contain stereotypical knowledge about aging, and to decide whether the nature of the changes taking place during the test (under the influence of exercise) corresponds to a greater extent to the assumptions of the disuse hypothesis (greater gradient of improvement in elderly subjects), or to the assumptions about age-related decline of developmental plasticity (gradient greater of improvement in the young). Generalizing the empirical findings, we can say that, compared with younger people a slowdown in the syllogistic reasoning does not characterize cognitive functioning of people in late adulthood. They can solve syllogisms just as quickly as younger subjects. However, they respond more slowly when the tasks are subject to stereotypical content and less accurately when the conclusions of syllogisms are false. The analysis of differences and patterns of changes in the speed and correctness of responses during the test of syllogistic reasoning in the age groups leads to ambiguous statements about the expected influence of the age of life in the improvement of performance of tasks under the influence of measurement repetition (practice). We came to the conclusion that in the search for a model of study, which separates from each other the effects of age (macro-developmental changes) and repetition of measurements during the test (micro-developmental changes) probably more useful is a flowchart of tasks’ exposure and comparison of the changes/differences related to age and measurement time. Thus, such studies require an increase of the number of measurements/tasks during the test.