Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, Vol 54, Issue 4 P246-P255, Copyright © 1999 by The Gerontological Society of America
Age-related differences in the acquisition, utilization, and extension of a spatial mental model
DK Gilbert and WA Rogers
The University of Montevallo, Alabama.
The acquisition, utilization, and extension of a spatial mental model were
assessed for young and older adults. The model consisted of a map with
nine buildings. In acquisition, 91% of the young adults and 62% of the
older adults were able to acquire the mental model as determined by a
strict criterion. There were age differences in trials required to reach
criterion. However, once acquired, the older adults were able to utilize
their mental model as well as the young adults, with the exception of
questions that were taxing on working memory. Both age groups were also
able to extend their mental model to 16 buildings, and then utilize this
extended model. Individual differences in working memory and fluid
intelligence were related to successful acquisition of the mental model.