Cognitive and Motivational Implications
  • Lawrence C. Perlmuter
  • Angela S. Eads
Part of the The Springer Series in Adult Development and Aging book series (SSAD)


With the exception of the pioneering interventional studies of Langer and Rodin (1976; Rodin & Langer, 1977; Rodin, Timko, & Harris, 1985), most of the research that has investigated the relationship between perceptions of control and aging have utilized self-reports to determine the extent to which advancing age is associated with changes in perceived control (Blanchard-Fields & Robinson, 1987). Although the self-report procedure is sound in itself, it may have peculiar limitations with respect to assessing age-related changes in perceived control; that is, when individuals are asked to respond to specific questions or scenarios that depict control, older individuals may respond differently than younger individuals to these inquiries, not because their perception of control has changed, but rather because the particular scenario or question may be lacking in appropriateness for either group. Thus, the requisite standardization procedures involved in test construction (i.e., presenting the respondent with a topic for judgment) may limit test validity. In other words, if young and old respondents answer a given question differently, is it because they perceive more or less control, or is the stem of the test item differentially appropriate to young or old individuals? As a result of the potential limitations surrounding exclusive reliance on self-reports, we primarily utilize experimental paradigms that examine how choice and control affect motivation and performance in younger and older individuals. We examine laboratory as well as field studies and propose some principles that may be useful in enhancing the perception of control in the elderly.


Target Word Recognition Accuracy Paired Associate Choice Condition Choice Group 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence C. Perlmuter
    • 1
  • Angela S. Eads
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFinch University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical SchoolNorth ChicagoUSA

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