Monday, June 28, 2010

Research Bytes 6-28-10: Aging research--Gf and stress; decision-making mediated by Gs and Gsm?

Interesting articles of potential interest.  Anyone who would like to read the complete articles in exchange for writing a "brief" blog post about the article should contact the blogmaster @

Henninger, D. E., Madden, D. J., & Huettel, S. A. (2010). Processing Speed and Memory Mediate Age-Related
Differences in Decision Making. Psychology and Aging, 25(2), 262-270.
Decision making under risk changes with age. Increases in risk aversion with age have been most commonly characterized, although older adults may be risk seeking in some decision contexts. An important, and unanswered, question is whether these changes in decision making reflect a direct effect of aging or, alternatively, an indirect effect caused by age-related changes in specific cognitive processes. In the current study, older adults (M = 71 years) and younger adults (M = 24 years) completed a battery of tests of cognitive capacities and decision-making preferences. The results indicated systematic effects of age upon decision quality—with both increased risk seeking and increased risk aversion observed in different tasks—consistent with prior studies. Path analyses, however, revealed that age-related effects were mediated by individual differences in processing speed and memory. When those variables were included in the model, age was no longer a significant predictor of decision quality. The authors conclude that the reduction in decision quality and associated changes in risk preferences commonly ascribed to aging are instead mediated by age-related changes in underlying cognitive capacities

Stawski, R. S., Almeida, D. M., Lachman, M. E., Tun, P. A., & Rosnick, C. B. (2010). Fluid Cognitive Ability Is
Associated With Greater Exposure and Smaller Reactions to Daily Stressors. Psychology and Aging, 25(2),
The authors of this study investigated whether fluid cognitive ability predicts exposure and emotional reactivity to daily stressors. A national sample of adults from the Midlife in the United States study and the National Study of Daily Experiences (N = 1,202) who had a mean age of 57 years (SD = 12; 56% women, 44% men) completed positive and negative mood reports as well as a stressor diary on 8 consecutive evenings via telephone. Participants also completed a telephone-based battery of tests measuring fluid cognitive ability. Higher levels of fluid cognitive ability were associated with greater exposure to work- and home-related overload stressors. Possessing higher levels of fluid cognitive ability was associated with smaller stressor-related increases in negative mood, primarily for interpersonal tensions and network stressors, and smaller stressor-related decreases in positive mood for interpersonal tensions. Furthermore, fluid cognitive ability was unrelated to subjective severity ratings of the stressors reported. Discussion focuses on the role of fluid cognitive ability in daily stress processes.

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