“You lose your mind” is a common belief about growing old in North America. Memory and language abilities are believed to deteriorate, with the decline starting in middle adulthood. Although empirical research does show that there is some decline in cognitive abilities as we grow older, in the absence of disease the decline is not as severe as losing one's mind! What are normal or abnormal cognitive changes that we can expect as we grow older? What are our stereotypes about aging, how do they develop, influence our interactions with older people and how do these beliefs impact cognitive performance in old age?
These are the overarching questions that motivate my research.
Photo courtesy of Jon Rawlinson