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Socio-cognitive profiles for visual learning in young and older adults

Christian, Julie, Goldstone, Aimee, Kuai, Shu Guang, Chin, Wynne, Abrams, Dominic, Kourzi, Zoe (2015) Socio-cognitive profiles for visual learning in young and older adults. Frontiers in Ageing Neuroscience, . E-ISSN 1663-4365. (doi:10.3389/fnagi.2015.00105) (KAR id:61827)


It is common wisdom that practice makes perfect; but why do some adults learn better than others? Here, we investigate individuals’ cognitive and social profiles to test which variables account for variability in learning ability across the lifespan. In particular, we focused on visual learning using tasks that test the ability to inhibit distractors and select task-relevant features. We tested the ability of young and older adults to improve through training in the discrimination of visual global forms embedded in a cluttered background. Further, we used a battery of cognitive tasks and psycho-social measures to examine which of these variables predict training-induced improvement in perceptual tasks and may account for individual variability in learning ability. Using partial least squares regression modeling, we show that visual learning is influenced by cognitive (i.e., cognitive inhibition, attention) and social (strategic and deep learning) factors rather than an individual’s age alone. Further, our results show that independent of age, strong learners rely on cognitive factors such as attention, while weaker learners use more general cognitive strategies. Our findings suggest an important role for higher-cognitive circuits involving executive functions that contribute to our ability to improve in perceptual tasks after training across the lifespan.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3389/fnagi.2015.00105
Uncontrolled keywords: perceptual learning, visual perception, psychophysics, cognitive abilities, social profiles, individual differences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Emily Fell
Date Deposited: 24 May 2017 11:39 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 23:46 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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