Age Differences in Processes

  • Jan D. Sinnott
Part of the The Springer Series in Adult Development and Aging book series (SSAD)


Since postformal thought is related to wisdom within my theory, I expected that mature adults generally would display more elements of it than younger adults would. I expected that in general, older adults would more often be “wiser” in postformal terms. With this expectation in mind, I began looking at age differences in postformal operations and in the related problem-solving processes in the information-processing traditions that were discussed in Chapter 9. This chapter describes some of the differences that were hypothesized and found. Differences that will be discussed include differences in the use of formal operations, in the use of postformal operations, in the use of steps to solution of potentially postformal problems and crucial errors during the solution process, and in the style of problem-solving steps as evident during thinking aloud problem solving. Age was also significantly correlated with several “noncognitive” factors such as use of emotion, factors that were elements in the problem-solving process. These noncognitive factors will be discussed in Chapter 11.


Problem Space Young Respondent Formal Operation Postformal Thought Mature Style 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan D. Sinnott
    • 1
  1. 1.Towson UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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