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A cross-cultural view on cognitive aging: Comparisons between Bangladesh and Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Most studies on cognitive aging have been conducted in economically developed countries (mainly on Western populations). It is of importance to test the generalizability of obtained results with studies in cultural settings with different living conditions. However, the share of research conducted in cross-cultural cognitive aging is rather small, especially on memory. The main aim of this study was to compare relative importance of some commonly used predictors (age, sex, years of education, systolic blood pressure, vascular diseases, sensory-motor functioning, and processing speed) for episodic and semantic memory performance in older people (≥ 60 years) from Bangladesh (n = 400) and Sweden (n = 1098), respectively.

A main finding was that age variations did not have as much impact on episodic and semantic memory performance in Bangladesh as in Sweden, and sex was of greater importance for semantic memory performance in Bangladesh. In the western world, chronological age is believed to be strongly associated with memory performance in cross-sectional studies, especially in people above 60 years of age. This study indicates that the difference between the two countries in relative importance of the predictors included in this study is mainly due to that years of education is connected to age in the western world but to sex in Bangladesh. It remains to be examined whether earlier selective survival is also responsible for the relative absence of cognitive age differences in Bangladesh.

 

Keyword [en]
cognitive aging, cross-cultural, episodic memory, semantic memory, selective survival
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-47028OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-47028DiVA: diva2:372679
Available from: 2010-11-26 Created: 2010-11-26 Last updated: 2010-11-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Individual differences in the aging memory: Mediation accounts, moderators, and contextual factors
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Individual differences in the aging memory: Mediation accounts, moderators, and contextual factors
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Within the field of cognitive aging, mediation accounts propose that age affects cognitive abilities through a mediator variable. Most of these mediation accounts are developed based on studies with cross-sectional designs. We had access to data from Betula, a longitudinal population-based multi-cohort project, and tested, in Study I, the well-known processing speed account (general age-related slowing of mental processing speed affects cognitive abilities negatively) (Salthouse, 1996). Interestingly, no support was found for the speed account. In Study II, a second mediation theory was tested, the common cause account (Lindenberger & Baltes, 1994). This notion suggests a link between sensory and cognitive abilities, where both abilities decline with age in a similar fashion because of a third factor, a common cause. Again, no support for a major account of cognitive decline was found. In Study III, interactions including vascular health and genetic status (APOE status) as potential interacting predictors of cognitive development were examined. A difference in the distribution of interaction effects on episodic and semantic memory development was found. Study IV, finally, consisted of a comparison of cognitive aging in two very different countries, Bangladesh (Poverty and Health in Ageing) and Sweden (Betula). The findings were surprising since chronological age, in Bangladesh, did not exert much effect on declarative memory in older people, in contrast to Betula and most other aging studies, predominantly performed in the Western world. Results from these four studies are discussed with respect to theoretical implications and methodological considerations. Recommendations for future research focus are made and implications for explanatory models of cognitive aging are elaborated on.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 2010. 73 p.
Keyword
cognitive aging, interactions, context, mediation accounts, cross-cultural, longitudinal, individual differences
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-45917 (URN)978-91-7447-158-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-01-14, David Magnusson salen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Manuscript.Available from: 2010-12-22 Created: 2010-11-16 Last updated: 2010-12-01Bibliographically approved

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