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Hello expert I want you to make some
comments in the following peers, the comments should be a minimum of one short
paragraph. Whether you agree or disagree, explain why with supporting
evidence and concepts from the readings or a related experience. Include a reference, link, or citation when
appropriate.

This is the question
Cognition
This week you learned
about how one’s cognitive functioning changes as one ages. Thinking about
memory, Intelligence, problem solving, and moral reasoning, in particular, what
factors, besides age, do you think also affects these cognitive functions?
Think about such factors as individual, cultural, environmental,
socio-economic… factors. Explain and support your suppositions.

Bellow is what my
peers wrote based on the above question

Peer #1
I think that individual and environmental factors can affect
different types of memory. Procedural memories that are strong in one
stage of life because they are used often will probably start to fade if they
stop being used. For example, if a person works at a job where they type
a lot then their procedural memory for typing will stay strong (Mason, 2011),
but should they start a new job that requires no typing then after time their
retrieval of those procedural memories will probably get more difficult.
I also think that procedural memories can be strengthened again, so that if for
example this same person years later started typing again they would probably
start to improve again as the retrieval for those procedural memories
improved. Semantic memories might be strong when a person is in a school
setting and therefore retrieving them on a daily basis, but those memories will
probably start to fade once a person is out of a school setting. If
they’re in a work setting, different semantic memories might then become more
easily retrievable (Mason, 2011). I think that semantic memories are more
easily lost than procedural memories because they are not generally associated
with a specific physical task that can help to trigger them.
According to Sternberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence there
are three areas of intelligence: analytical, creative and practical (Mason,
2011). Gardner’s theory included eight very specific kinds of
intelligence, including logical-mathematical, spatial, musical and intrapersonal
(Mason, 2011). I believe that different kinds of intelligence are
affected by a person’s upbringing and their environment as a child. For
example, a child who grows up in a financially comfortable environment might be
given opportunities that a child from a poorer socio-economic background is not
given. If they are given music lessons, art lessons, or private tutoring
they may develop creative intelligence or analytical intelligence that is
fostered by their lessons and tutoring, whereas a child without those
opportunities might have a much more difficult time developing those same
levels of intelligence. Another example might be the occupation of a
person’s parent. If a person is a mathematician they might emphasize that
from an early age with their child, fostering that kind of intelligence, or the
child of a psychologist might develop strong intrapersonal intelligence.
A child might develop a specific kind of sense of humor (which I think involves
analytical, creative and practical intelligence) because he is surrounded by
funny family members growing up. I also think that these last two
examples might include genetic factors as well.
I think that moral reasoning is affected by environmental,
societal and cultural factors. For example, as an Orthodox Jew I was
taught specific ethical laws and values by my parents from a very young age
based on the Torah which were then developed and increased with 13 years of
formal Judaic and religious studies. My moral reasoning, therefore, would
be different from someone with a different cultural or religious
upbringing. From my own personal experience, I do think that the biggest
differences in that area might be in the thought process of how a person
arrives at a particular moral decision, and not necessarily the decision
itself. That also affects whether a person might decide to consult a
religious or spiritual leader regarding a dilemma. I think societal norms
affect a person’s moral reasoning as well. The more something becomes
normal and commonplace, the more likely people are to believe it is okay.
For example, if underage drinking is common in a society than I think that
people will be more likely to believe it’s okay or not too harmful, as compared
to if they were living in a society where it was seldom done. Laws affect
moral reasoning as well. People often use the law to define what is wrong
and right, and as laws vary by country the definition of right and wrong will
therefore likely vary as well.
Reference
Mason, M.G. (2011).Adulthood
and Aging. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon

Peer# 2
We are all susceptible to memory lapses at any age whether it be a
block in our memory or absentmindedness (Mason, 2011). However, as we age
our cognitive functions change. Memory deficits are common to all aging adults
but memory deterioration varies among them. Common memory deficits as we
age are forgetting verbal information, spatial location and episodic memory
(Mason, 2011) since our brains have plasticity we can improve these memories
with practice and effort by exercising our brains. A healthy diet and good
physical health are also strategies for improving memory. The article about
brain games was extremely interesting to me as well as the learning about the
cognitive exercises that have been proven to improve memory function (Mason,
2011). My grandmother has always been fond of word searches, crossword puzzles
and Sudoku. At 86 years old her memory is still quite sharp and I have always
wondered if her love of these games has helped her exercise her brain for
memory retention.
In the reading this week we learned about how memory declines with
age. I also think that socio-economic factors play a role in memory decline.
According to Mason, individuals with higher levels of education perform better
on memory tasks (Mason, 2011). People living in low socio-economic standing may
not have the ability to obtain a higher education due to monetary reasons.
Without this education they cannot learn and increase their brains plasticity.
They also may be unaware of what tasks improve memory without the proper
education. Many people living in a low socio-economic environment may also do
routine robotic jobs that are not challenging or stimulating them mentally.
Studies also support that those who have a higher rate of intelligence have
less off a cognitive decline with age then those that do not (Mason, 2011).
People from a more wealthy background may be able to increase their memory
skills by learning new tasks. They may then develop multiple levels of
intelligence by learning skills such as dance, art or to play an instrument,
unfortunately someone from a lower socio-economic environment would not be able
to have this enriching opportunity.

I also think that Moral reasoning is affected by cultural factors.
We are shaped by our culture and what may be immoral to one culture may be a
societal norm in another. One example that I can think about from my life is
the consumption of red wine at dinner. Coming from an Italian family there has
always been red wine on the table with dinner every evening. Growing up
as kids, maybe 11-12 years of age, we were allowed minor sips at dinner and by
the age of 15-16 a small glass. One day a friend of my aunts was over the house
for dinner and she freaked out when I had some wine. ( I must have been 15
years old at the time). In my family it was no big deal, but she went on and on
about how letting children drink is creating alcoholism at a young age. Her moral
reasoning was definitely different than those of my family.

References

Mason, M.G. (2011).Adulthood and aging. Boston, MA: Pearson
Education, Inc.

PEER # 3
One of the biggest factors that affects cognitive decline in aging
is education. Studies have shown that people who have attained a higher level
of education tended to have lower rates of cognitive decline in general than
those who have less academic achievements (Mason, 2011, p. 234). Another factor
closely related to education: intelligence level has also been shown to have an
effect on cognitive decline. Several studies support the fact that those that
have a higher rate of intelligence, also seem to be relatively steady in
regards to cognitive function- meaning that their cognitive abilities tend to
decline less with age (Mason, 2011, p. 232).

A possible confounding variable related to education and cognitive
decline might be the fact that a higher socio-economic status is usually
associated with those that achieve higher levels of education. For example,
someone who may come from a poorer family may want to pursue a university
degree but may not be able to do so based on financial restrictions. In addition
to having less access to education, poor diet and a general lack of resources
have been shown to produce circumstances which lead to less than optimal aging
in general (Mason, 2011, p. 84-85). Another factor which may prevent others
from pursuing education is the environment in which someone lives. If a person
lives in a less developed country for, example, they are less likely to have
access to educational resources.

The idea of optimal aging is also very much based on the habits of
the individual (i.e. a person decides to exercise so that they can age with
less physical disabiliities). Research has recently showed that one possible
way to improve cognitive function is to “train your brain” by
engaging in stimulating cognitive activities (Doraiswamy & Agronin, 2009).
Research is still ongoing as to what, precisely, these activities might do to
help prevent decline. However, it is refreshing to look at age-related
cognitive decline through a lens of plasticity and prevention rather than one
of fatalism and inevitability.
References:

Doraiswamy, M. & Agronin, M.E. (2009). Brain games: Do
they really work?Scientific American. Retrieved
from: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/brain-games-do-they-really/

Mason, M.G. (2011).Adulthood and aging. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

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