Aging and Metacognition in Strategic Skill Acquisition

Summary

Principal Investigator: CHRISTOPHER K HERTZOG
Abstract: [unreadable] DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): A critical issue regarding aging and cognition concerns the impact of strategic behavior as a cause of age differences in cognitive performance. Can the influence of strategies be identified in conjunction with the role of age-related changes in basic information processing mechanisms - such as a slowing in rates of associative learning or slowing in information processing speed? To what extent do age differences in strategic behavior in cognitive tasks produce, enhance, or reduce estimates of age changes in basic cognitive mechanisms taken from standard cognitive tasks? Although it is clear that age differences in cognitive strategies do not determine (i.e., completely account for) age differences in cognitive task performance (Light, 1996; Salthouse, 1991 ) they can play an important role in affecting age differences in performance on several classes of complex cognitive tasks (Dunlosky & Hertzog, 2001; Lemaire & Arnaud, 2002; Kausler, 1994; Rogers, Hertzog, & Fisk, 2000). The proposed research will clarify the influence of strategic factors on age differences in skill acquisition. We have adopted the noun-pair learning (NP) task (Ackerman & Woltz, 1994) to assess how quickly individuals switch from a slower form of controlled processing (visual search, or scanning, of an array to find target word pairs) to more fluent performance based on memory-retrieval (made possible by repeated exposure to the same pairings). Initial work with this task demonstrated that a substantial proportion of older adults do not rely on retrieval from memory to make rapid judgments in the NP task (Rogers & Gilbert, 1997; Rogers et al., 2000), opting instead to stay with the slower but effective strategy of scanning the array of possible answers. We have previously shown that both older and younger adults learn new associations and utilize this learning to guide skilled performance in the NP task (Touron & Hertzog, in press; Touron & Hertzog, 2003). A critical feature of our approach is collecting trial by trial strategy reports as well as online recognition memory probes, which allow us to track the way in which associative learning at the level of specific items leads to changes in strategic behavior for each person. Using this approach, we have shown that older adults are reluctant to rely on a memory retrieval strategy despite adequate noun-pair learning (item knowledge), and that this reluctance contributes to age differences in rates of skill acquisition. Persistent scanning behavior cannot be fully explained by deficient noun-pair learning - the shift toward retrieval is also influenced by age differences in strategy choice. A number of competing explanations for age differences in strategy choice are available, including: cognitive abilities, personality characteristics, metacognitive beliefs, performance monitoring, or the mental task model. The proposed research will consider these alternative mechanisms for and influences on older adults' retrieval reluctance. Our specific aims are to: (1) conduct an extensive individual differences study that evaluates the relationship of strategic choice to (a) background abilities, such as perceptual speed, associative memory, and fluid intelligence and (b) personal characteristics, including conservatism, conscientiousness, impulsivity, memory self-concept, and online monitoring of the accessibility of item knowledge; (2) assess age and individual differences in online metacognition, including differences in the experience of or access to a fast feeling-of-knowing as well as differences in updating of knowledge for latency differences across strategies.; (3) test the flexibility of initial response criteria and strategy preferences, by experimentally manipulating instructional sets, reward contingencies, and response deadlines; and (4) check the generality of these effects by extending to a separate skill acquisition task. Our goals are to demonstrate that older adults' skill acquisition behavior is governed both by age-related information processing constraints as well as by volition and strategic choice, to evaluate the role of that strategic behavior which impedes rates of learning in older adults can be overcome through intervention. [unreadable] [unreadable]
Funding Period: 2004-08-15 - 2009-07-31
more information: NIH RePORT

Top Publications

  1. ncbi Are item-level strategy shifts abrupt and collective? Age differences in cognitive skill acquisition
    Dayna R Touron
    Department of Psychology, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608, USA
    Psychon Bull Rev 13:781-6. 2006
  2. pmc A prelearning manipulation falsifies a pure associational deficit account of retrieval shift during skill acquisition
    Jarrod Hines
    School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332 0170, USA
    Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn 19:449-78. 2012
  3. pmc Age differences in memory retrieval shift: governed by feeling-of-knowing?
    Christopher Hertzog
    School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332 0170, USA
    Psychol Aging 26:647-60. 2011
  4. pmc Eye movements and strategy shift in skill acquisition: adult age differences
    Dayna R Touron
    Department of Psychology, 296 Eberhart Building, PO Box 26170, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402 6170, USA
    J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 66:151-9. 2011
  5. pmc Does task affordance moderate age-related deficits in strategy production?
    Sara Bottiroli
    Department of Psychology, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy
    Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn 17:591-602. 2010
  6. pmc Assessing adult leisure activities: an extension of a self-report activity questionnaire
    Daniela S Jopp
    School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA
    Psychol Assess 22:108-20. 2010
  7. pmc Subjective learning discounts test type: evidence from an associative learning and transfer task
    Dayna R Touron
    The University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC 27402 6170, USA
    Exp Psychol 57:327-37. 2010
  8. pmc Age differences in strategic behavior during a computation-based skill acquisition task
    Dayna R Touron
    Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402 6170, USA
    Psychol Aging 24:574-85. 2009
  9. pmc Metacognitive influences on study time allocation in an associative recognition task: An analysis of adult age differences
    Jarrod C Hines
    Department of Psychology, Appalachian State University, USA
    Psychol Aging 24:462-75. 2009
  10. ncbi Moderation of older adults' retrieval reluctance through task instructions and monetary incentives
    Dayna R Touron
    Department of Psychology, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608, USA
    J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 62:P149-55. 2007

Detail Information

Publications11

  1. ncbi Are item-level strategy shifts abrupt and collective? Age differences in cognitive skill acquisition
    Dayna R Touron
    Department of Psychology, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608, USA
    Psychon Bull Rev 13:781-6. 2006
    ..Age differences in item-level shift patterns suggest that older adults' greater conservatism in strategy selection leads to more gradual strategy shift transitions for individual items as well as to more collective strategy shifts...
  2. pmc A prelearning manipulation falsifies a pure associational deficit account of retrieval shift during skill acquisition
    Jarrod Hines
    School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332 0170, USA
    Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn 19:449-78. 2012
    ..However, the 50% prelearned condition resulted in strategy shift that was inconsistent with simple mechanistic associative learning, revealing a strategic set that was retrieval-avoidant in older adults...
  3. pmc Age differences in memory retrieval shift: governed by feeling-of-knowing?
    Christopher Hertzog
    School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332 0170, USA
    Psychol Aging 26:647-60. 2011
    ....
  4. pmc Eye movements and strategy shift in skill acquisition: adult age differences
    Dayna R Touron
    Department of Psychology, 296 Eberhart Building, PO Box 26170, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402 6170, USA
    J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 66:151-9. 2011
    ..We validated strategy self-reports, evaluated whether eye movements may be automatic as well as information seeking, and considered the contribution of eye movements to age differences in overall performance...
  5. pmc Does task affordance moderate age-related deficits in strategy production?
    Sara Bottiroli
    Department of Psychology, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy
    Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn 17:591-602. 2010
    ..Most important, age-related deficits in strategy use were greater for the former task and nonexistent for the latter one, suggesting that task affordance moderates age differences in strategy use...
  6. pmc Assessing adult leisure activities: an extension of a self-report activity questionnaire
    Daniela S Jopp
    School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA
    Psychol Assess 22:108-20. 2010
    ....
  7. pmc Subjective learning discounts test type: evidence from an associative learning and transfer task
    Dayna R Touron
    The University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC 27402 6170, USA
    Exp Psychol 57:327-37. 2010
    ..Moreover, performance changes when transferring test type were not fully anticipated by pretest judgments...
  8. pmc Age differences in strategic behavior during a computation-based skill acquisition task
    Dayna R Touron
    Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402 6170, USA
    Psychol Aging 24:574-85. 2009
    ..The pattern of results suggested a role of metacognitive and volitional factors in retrieval shift, indicating that an associative learning deficit cannot fully account for older adults' delayed strategy shift...
  9. pmc Metacognitive influences on study time allocation in an associative recognition task: An analysis of adult age differences
    Jarrod C Hines
    Department of Psychology, Appalachian State University, USA
    Psychol Aging 24:462-75. 2009
    ..Older adults studied items that had been assigned lower CJs longer, suggesting no age deficit in using memory monitoring to control learning...
  10. ncbi Moderation of older adults' retrieval reluctance through task instructions and monetary incentives
    Dayna R Touron
    Department of Psychology, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608, USA
    J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 62:P149-55. 2007
    ..Results indicate that older adults in the incentives condition shifted to retrieval earlier than those without incentives, bolstering the argument that reliance on retrieval is volitional...
  11. pmc Accuracy and speed feedback: global and local effects on strategy use
    Dayna R Touron
    a Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
    Exp Aging Res 40:332-56. 2014
    ..Response time (RT) feedback can lead to more rapid shift to retrieval (Hertzog, Touron, & Hines, 2007, Psychology and Aging, 22, 607-624)...