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By Jason S. Lee

Abstraction is one part of highbrow functioning. The research of abstraction permits tremendous beneficial insights into human intelligence. whereas this monograph shows that the facility to imagine abstractly declines a bit of with age, there are many variables picking out summary considering and its relation to intelligence over the life-span. This monograph defines abstraction from all angles of inspiration, contrasting it with high-order considering and stereotyped considering; it discusses and evaluates exams of summary pondering; and it offers new findings in sociological and mental examine on abstraction.

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Additional resources for Abstraction and Aging: A Social Psychological Analysis

Sample text

2. The Deficit Model Several decades ago, in a review article on adult intellectual development, Jones (1959, p. 700, quoted in Labouvie-Vief, 1985, p. 5(0) described the then popular "hill" or "deficit" model: In the first two decades [of life] the effects [of aging on intelligence] are chiefly positive and are defined in terms of growth or maturation. In later maturity negative changes are apparent with progressive age reductions in functional efficiency. More recently, Labouvie-Vief (1985, p.

1 was taken at face value as evidence in support of the deficit model and the neural noise theory. Such conclusions are premature, as Labouvie-Vief (1985, p. 503) explains: 32 2. Abstraction Over the Life Course [The deficit model] suggest[s] that cognitive aging results, in part, from biological (presumably, largely genetic) limitations on an organism's fluidity or its capacity for plasticity. The assumption of such limitations may be based on an artifact, however, as research has often failed to account for the multitude of ways in which individual development is influenced by socio-cultural factors.

Perkins and Salomon propose a resolution to the transfer debate in the form of a " synthesis position," which challenges the assumed polarization of general cognitive skills and factual knowledge. "There are general cognitive skills, but they always function in contextualized ways .. [as] gripping devices for retrieving and wielding domain-specific knowledge, as hands that need pieces of knowledge to grip and wield and that need to configure ... " (pp. 19,23). Upon reflection it is hard to imagine how it could be otherwise; knowledge is built up through the interaction of cognition and content.

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