Universidade de São Paulo
Descargar / Download PDF: http://dx.doi.org/10.5514/rmac.v47.i1.79751
Palabras clave: flexibilidad cognitiva; aprendizaje reversa; discriminación visual simples; control de estímulos; adultos mayores sanos.
Population aging is accompanied by several challenges that include comprehending the effects of normal (healthy) aging on cognitive functions, including cognitive flexibility – the ability to change the course of an activity to adapt to the changes in the demand of the task. This study aimed to compare the learning and reversal of simple visual discriminations in two groups of healthy participants, matched in relation to education, however, differing in age. Twelve college students (aged 18 to 24 years) and 13 healthy older adults (aged 60 to 77 years), all with at least 12 years of education, learned three simple simultaneous visual discriminations, followed by three successive stimulus function reversal tests. All the participants learned the discriminations; however, only seven older adults achieved the criterion in the reversal tests. All the young participants achieved the criterion in the reversals. Among the older adults that did not achieve the criterion, a non-perseverative error pattern was the most common, with performance declining during the exposure to the reversal tests. This pattern suggests difficulties in establishing new relations between the visual stimuli and their consequences in the reversals. Normal aging seems to affect the performance of some older adults in discrimination reversal tasks.
Key words: cognitive flexibility; reversal learning; simple visual discrimination; stimulus control; healthy older adults.