Effect of Age on Variability in the Production of Text-Based Global Inferences
Williams, Lynne J.
Dunlop, Joseph P
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As we age, our differences in cognitive skills become more visible, an effect especially true for memory and problem solving skills (i.e., fluid intelligence). However, by contrast with fluid intelligence, few studies have examined variability in measures that rely on one's world knowledge (i.e., crystallized intelligence). The current study investigated whether age increased the variability in text based global inference generation-a measure of crystallized intelligence. Global inference generation requires the integration of textual information and world knowledge and can be expressed as a gist or lesson. Variability in generating two global inferences for a single text was examined in young-old (62 to 69 years), middle-old (70 to 76 years) and old-old (77 to 94 years) adults. The older two groups showed greater variability, with the middle elderly group being most variable. These findings suggest that variability may be a characteristic of both fluid and crystallized intelligence in aging. © 2012 Williams et al.