Healthy Ageing Colloquium Series

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19 May 15:00 hr 0155 Munting building – Grote Kruisstraat 2/1, Groningen

Dr. Annette Brose, Cognitive Performance Variability is Related to Variability in Motivation and Affect in Younger but not Older Adults

Cognitive performance is broadly regarded as a trait-like ability. Despite this assumption of general stability, performance is affected by situational influences such as daily stressors. My presentation will provide an overview on within-person performance variability and how it is related to affectivemotivational variables across time (e.g., affect, control of attention, motivation, and perceived control).

Furthermore, I will elaborate on adult age differences in the associations between cognitive performance variability and variability in the affective-motivational domain. Data come from the COGITO study, a study in which 101 younger (20-31) and 103 older (65+) adults were tested in close-to-daily sessions. Each day, participants rated their mood, motivation, attentional control, and motivation. They also indicated the occurrence of events. Afterwards, participants worked on cognitive tasks (e.g., working memory and perceptual speed tasks). The findings of this study are partly in line with theoretical propositions on the interplay between affect, motivation and cognition. Younger adults’ performance variability was indeed related to affective-motivational experiences. For example, younger adults’ performance was reduced on days with enhanced levels of negative affect. Older adults’ performance variability, however, was unrelated to most of the affective-motivational covariates. This age difference may be due to relatively stable levels of motivation and affect within older adults—the older participants in this study persistently had high levels of motivation and low and stable levels of negative affect. Theoretical considerations and findings from the COGITO study reveal the relevance of situational variables for younger adults’ performance. Furthermore, they point to potential advantages of older adults in the work force.

For more information you may contact dr. Susanne Scheibe, s.scheibe@rug.nl

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