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Middle Adulthood, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 414

Essay

Middle Adulthood: Research Questions, Data Collection, and Expectations

The stage of life development known as middle adulthood (40-65 years old) is a time that comes with potential changes in cognitive and affective processes. Also, according to Erik Erikson, this stage of life comes with the challenge of generativity vs. stagnation. In short, this represents a crisis that can be alleviated by the feeling that one is contributing to the upcoming generation of young adults. We have developed research questions that address these changes and needs, as well as the metacognitive awareness of cognitive change. These inquiries have been revised since their conception in the proposal and introduction of this study’s development to better clarify the items of interest.

The three research questions are as follows:

  • Is working memory impaired in middle adulthood as compared to young adulthood?
  • Are perceived felt emotions toward the need to be generative more intense in middle adulthood compared to young adulthood?
  • Are middle adults aware of their cognitive impairment or lack thereof?

Collection of data to answer these questions can be completed with the same group of subjects. We would require one random sample of young adults (20-39) and one random sample of middle adults. Ideally, each group would contain thirty or more subjects. Question 1 would be tested with a simple dual-task working memory test (there are many available) with each group representing a condition.

The second and third questions require the construction of two separate surveys. The first survey, to be completed by both groups, would consist of an undetermined number of items intended to measure the subjects’ perception of their affective response to the need to be generative. Items would be Likert scaled and scored accordingly with proper precautions taken to account for confounds such as ordering effects. Again, each group would constitute an age-stage condition. The final question would be addressed by the second survey and should only be completed by the middle adulthood group. These subjects would answer questions related to their belief in the functional quality of their own working memory. These scores could be tested for a correlation with their actual working memory test results.

We expect that working memory will be worse in middle adulthood when compared to young adulthood. The perceived emotional affect of generative need is predicted to be significantly higher in middle adulthood as compared to young adulthood, and we believe that the working memory scores from question 1 will not be positively correlated with the middle adult’s own assessment, signifying a lack of metacognitive awareness.

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