Can Acquired Skill and Technology Mitigate Age-Related Declines in Learning Rate?

  • Neil CharnessEmail author


The past few decades have seen a reversal in the trend toward earlier retirement that followed the introduction of public pension systems. Further, workers in the very large baby boom cohort have expressed a strong desire to continue working past traditional retirement ages. Workers, even those in the later decades (e.g., 70s), are choosing to stay in the paid labor force longer. Given age-related changes in abilities such as cognition, an important question is: how do these changes affect work productivity? I review evidence about cognitive decline with age and whether increased knowledge and acquired skill can compensate for such decline. I suggest that learning rate declines with age may explain changes in motivation by workers to engage in training and retraining. I also suggest a framework—rehabilitate, augment, substitute (RAS)—that points toward technology and training interventions to support people working safely and productively over lengthening work careers.


Skill Technology Learning rate Work Aging Cognition Motivation 



This work was supported in part by a grant from the National Institute on Aging, under the auspices of the Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE), 4 P01 AG 17211.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology Department and Institute for Successful LongevityFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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