Empowering cognitive flexibility in aging: The effects of a training

Author/s Sabrina Rago, Valentina Rita Andolfi, Alessandro Antonietti, Giuseppe Iannoccari, Nicoletta Porcu, Chiara Valenti
Publishing Year 2020 Issue 2020/2
Language Italian Pages 22 P. 691-712 File size 267 KB
DOI 10.3280/RIP2020-002011
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

The increase in life prospects calls for reflection about the issue of aging and underlines the importance of taking care of elderly persons fostering their well-being. In this context, cognitive flexibility plays a fundamental role for the nu-merous benefits it produces in the elderly. This study was aimed at testing the effectiveness of "Flexi-train − Cognitive flexibility empowerment program in ag-ing" training, addressed to healthy elderly people, comparing an experimental group involved in the empowering intervention with a control group. Results showed that in the post-test the experimental group achieved higher cognitive flexibility scores than the control group did. Furthermore, greater reflexive capac-ity and higher critical awareness was observed in the first as compared to the second group. Findings support the notion that the training is effective in stimu-lating cognitive strategies and prompting reflection about the mental functioning in elder people to enable them to face everyday-life situations.

Keywords: Active aging, cognitive flexibility, creativity, empowerment, well-being.

  1. Palmiero, M., Nakatani, C., Raver, D., Olivetti Belardinelli, M., & van Leeuwen, C. (2010). Abilities within and across visual and verbal domains: How specific is their influence on creativity? Creativity Research Journal, 22, 369-377. DOI: 10.1080/10400419.2010.523396
  2. Palmiero, M., Nori, R., & Piccardi, L. (2017). Verbal and visual divergent thinking in aging. Experimental Brain Research, 235, 1021-1029.
  3. Perez-Fabello, M. J., & Campos, A. (2007). The influence of imaging capacity on visual art skills. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 2, 128-135.
  4. Park, D. C., Lautenschlager, G., Hedden, T., Davidson, N. S., Smith, A. D., & Smith, P. K. (2002). Models of visuospatial and verbal memory across the adult life span. Psychology and Aging, 17, 299-320. DOI: 10.1037//0882-7974.17.2.299
  5. Perkins, D. D., & Zimmerman, M. A. (1995) Empowerment theory, research, and application. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23, 569-579. DOI: 10.1007/BF02506982
  6. Piolino, P., Desgranges, B., Benali, K., & Eustache, F. (2002). Episodic and semantic remote autobiographical memory in ageing. Memory, 10, 239-257. DOI: 10.1080/09658210143000353
  7. Razumnikova, O. M. (2007). Creativity related cortex activity in the remote associates task. Brain Research Bulletin, 74, 96-102.
  8. Rozanski, A., & Kubzansky, L. D (2005). Psychologic functioning and physical health: A paradigm of flexibility. Psychosomatic Medicine, 67, 47-53.
  9. Samuels, M., & Lane, M. (1998). Creative healing. San Francisco, CA: Harper Collins.
  10. Schaie, K. W. (1984). Midlife influences upon intellectual functioning in old age. International. Journal of Behavioral Development, 7, 463-478. DOI: 10.1177/016502548400700405
  11. Siegler, I. C. (1983). Psychological studies of the Duke Longitudinal Studies. In K. W. Schaie (Ed.), Longitudinal studies of adult psychological development (pp. 136-190). New York: Guilford Press.
  12. Spiro, R. J., Collins, B. P., Thota, J. J., & Feltovich, P. J. (2003). Cognitive Flexibility Theory: Hypermedia for Complex Learning, Adaptive Knowledge Application, and Experience Acceleration. Educational Technology, 43(5), 5-10.
  13. Spiro, R. J., Feltovich, P. J., & Coulson, R. L. (1996). Two epistemic world‐views: Prefigurative schemas and learning in complex domains. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 10(7), 51-61.
  14. Spiro, R. J., Feltovich, P. J., Coulson, R. L., & Anderson, D. (1989). Multiple analogies for complex concepts: Antidotes for analogy-induced misconception in advanced knowledge acquisition. In S. Vosniadou & A. Ortony (Eds.), Similarity and analogical reasoning (pp. 458-531). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511529863.023
  15. Spiro, R. J., & Jehng, J. C., (1990). Cognitive flexibility and hypertext: Theory and technology for the nonlinear and multidimensional traversal of complex subject matter. In D. Nix & R. J. Spiro (Eds.), Cognition, education, and multimedia: Explorations in high technology (pp. 163-205). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  16. Spiro, R. J., Vispoel, W., Schmitz, J., Samarapungavan, A., & Boerger, A. (1987). Knowledge acquisition for application: Cognitive flexibility and transfer in complex content domains. In B. C. Britton (Eds.), Executive control processes (pp. 177-199). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  17. Thornton, W. L., & Dumke, H. A. (2005). Age differences in everyday problem-solving and decision-making effectiveness: A meta-analytic eview. Psychology and Aging, 20, 85-99. DOI: 10.1037/0882-7974.20.1.85
  18. Anderson, G., & Horvath, J. (2004). The growing burden of chronic disease in America. Public Health Reports, 119, 263-270.
  19. Andolfi, V. R., & Cabiati, M. (2014). Promuovere l’employability e l’autoefficacia ai tempi della flessibilità lavorativa: un training rivolto ad un gruppo di adulti scoraggiati. Ricerche di Psicologia, 36, 421-455. DOI: 10.3280/RIP2014-003003
  20. Andolfi, V. R., Valenti, C., Cesa-Bianchi, M., & Cristini, C. (2016). Creatività e tempo libero in età senile. Un’indagine delle relazioni tra propensione al pensiero divergente e passatempi praticati. Ricerche di Psicologia, 38, 497-513. DOI: 10.3280/RIP2016-004003
  21. Anstey, K., & Low, L. (2004). Normal cognitive changes in aging. Australian Family Physician, 33, 783-787.
  22. Antonietti, A., Balconi, B., Catellani, P, & Marchetti, A. (2014). Empowering skills for active ageing and healthy living. In G. Riva, P. Ajmone Marsan & C. Grassi (Eds.), Active ageing and healthy living (pp. 157-171). Amsterdam, IOS Press. DOI: 10.3233/978-1-61499-425-1-15
  23. Antonietti, A., & Colombo, B. (2013). Three creative operations. In A.-G. Tan (Eds.), Creativity, talent development, and excellence (pp. 13-26). New York: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-981-4021-93-7
  24. Antonietti, A., & Colombo, B. (2016). Creative cognition: How culture matters. In V. Glaveanu (Eds.), Handbook of creativity and culture (pp. 101-124). Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-46344-9_6
  25. Antonietti, A., & Confalonieri, E. (2015). Il ruolo delle life skills nella promozione del benessere. Ricerche di Psicologia, 38, 97-107. DOI: 10.3280/RIP2015-001005
  26. Baltes, P. B., Staudinger, U. M., & Lindenberger, U. (1999). Lifespan psychology. Theory and application to intellectual functioning. Annual Review of Psychology, 50, 471-507.
  27. Basadur, M., Pringle, P., Speranzini, G., & Bacot, M. (2000). Collaborative problem solving through creativity in problem definition: Expanding the pie. Creativity and Innovation Management, 9, 54-76. DOI: 10.1111/1467-8691.00157
  28. Bickerstaff, K. A., Grasser, C. M., & McCabe, B. (2003). How elderly nursing home residents transcend losses of later life. Holistic Nursing Practice, 17(3), 159-165. DOI: 10.1097/00004650-200305000-00007
  29. Boulton-Lewis, G., & Tam, M. (2012). Active ageing, active learning. New York: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-2111-1
  30. Bruner, J. (2002). Making Stories: Law, Literature, and Life. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  31. Cañas, J. J., Quesada, J. F., Antolì, A., & Fajardo, I. (2003). Cognitive flexibility and adaptability to environmental changes in dynamic complex problem-solving tasks. Ergonomics, 46(5), 482-501. DOI: 10.1080/0014013031000061640
  32. Cera, R., Cristini, C., & Antonietti, A. (2018). Conceptions of learning, well-being and creativity in older adults. Journal of Educational, Cultural and Psychological Studies, 18, 241-273.
  33. Christensen, H. (2001). What cognitive changes can be expected with normal ageing? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 35, 768-775.
  34. Christensen, H., Anstey, K. J., Parslow, R. A., Maller, J., Mackinnon, A., & Sachdev, P. (2007). The brain reserve hypothesis, brain atrophy and aging. Gerontology, 53, 82-95. DOI: 10.1159/000096482
  35. Coffey, C. E., Saxton, J. A., Ratcliff, G., Bryan, R. N., & Lucke, J. F. (1999). Relation of education to brain size in normal aging: Implications for the reserve hypothesis. Neurology, 53, 189-196. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.53.1.189
  36. Cohen, G. (2001). Creativity with aging: Four phases of potential in the second half of life. Geriatrics, 56, 51-57.
  37. Cohen, G. D. (2006) Research on creativity and ageing: the positive impact of the arts on health and illness. Generations, 30, 7-15.
  38. Colautti, L., Baldissini, D., Colombo, V., Mottura, S., Sacco, M., Sozzi, et al. (2018). CREC: The role of serious games in improving flexibility in thinking in neuropsychological rehabilitation. British Journal of Educational Technology, 49, 717-727.
  39. Colombo, B., Antonietti, A., & Daneau, B. (2018). The relationships between cognitive reserve and creativity. A study on American aging population. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(764), 1-11.
  40. Fink, A., Graif, A., & Neubauer, A. C. (2009). Brain correlates underlying creative thinking: EEG alpha activity in professional vs novice dancers. NeuroImage, 46, 854-862.
  41. Fink, A., & Neubauer, A. C. (2006). EEG alpha oscillations during the performance of verbal creativity tasks: Differential effects of sex and verbal intelligence. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 62, 46-53.
  42. Fisher, B. J., & Specht, D. K. (1999). Successful aging and creativity later in life. Journal of Aging Studies, 13, 457-472. DOI: 10.1016/S0890-4065(99)00021-3
  43. Flood, M., & Phillips, K. D. (2007). Creativity in older adults: A plethora of possibilities. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 28, 389-411. DOI: 10.1080/01612840701252956
  44. Freudlich, A. L., & Shively, J. A. (2006). Creativity and the exceptional aging artist. Clinical interventions in aging, 1, 197-200.
  45. Hickson, J., & Housley, W. (1997). Creativity in later life. Educational Gerontology, 23, 539-547. DOI: 10.1080/0360127970230604
  46. Hill, R. D. (2005). Positive aging: A guide for mental health care professionals and consumers. New York: W.W. Norton.
  47. Hill, R. D. (2011). A Positive Aging Framework for Guiding Geropsychology Interventions. Behavior Therapy, 42, 66-77.
  48. Jarvik, L. F., & Bank, L. (1983). Aging twins: Longitudinal psychometric data. In K. W. Schaie (Ed.), Longitudinal studies of adult psychological development (pp. 40-63). New York: Guilford Press.
  49. Kemper, S., & Kemtes, K. (1999). Aging and message production and comprehension. In N. Schwarz, D. C. Park, B. Knauper, & S. Sudman (Ed.), Cognition, aging, and self-reports (pp. 229-244). Hove, England: Psychology Press. DOI: 10.4324/9780203345115
  50. Klahr, D., & Simon, H. A. (1999). Studies of scientific discovery: Complementary approaches and convergent findings. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 524-543. 43. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.125.5.524
  51. Lane, M. (2005). Creativity and spirituality in nursing. Holistic Nursing Practice, 19, 122-125. DOI: 10.1097/00004650-200505000-00008
  52. Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal and coping. New York: Springer.
  53. van Leeuwen, C., Verstijnen, I. M., & Hekkert, P. (1999). Common unconscious dynamics underlie uncommon conscious effect: A case study in the iterative nature of perception and creation. In. J.S. Jordan (Ed.), Modeling consciousness across the disciplines (pp. 179-218). Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
  54. Lindauer, M. S. (1977). Imagery from the point of view of psychological aesthetics, the arts and creativity. Journal of Mental Imagery, 2, 343-362.
  55. McFadden S. H., & Basting, A. D. (2010) Healthy ageing persons and their brains: promoting resilience through creative engagement. Clinics Geriatric Medicine, 26, 149-161.
  56. Olivetti Belardinelli, M. (2002). Beyond global and local theories of musical creativity. Looking for specific indicators of mental activity during music processing. The ESCOM 10th Anniversary Conference, Liège. In I. Deliege & G. A Wiggins (Eds.), Musical creativity (pp. 322-344). Hove, UK, and New York, NY: Psychology Press.
  57. Palmiero, M., Di Giacomo, D., & Passafiume, D. (2012). Creativity and dementia: A review. Cognitive Processing, 13, 193-209.
  58. Palmiero, M., Di Giacomo, D., & Passafiume, D. (2014). Divergent Thinking and Age-Related Changes. Creativity Research Journal, 26(4), 456-460. DOI: 10.1080/10400419.2014.961786
  59. Torrance, E. P. (1998). The Torrance tests of creative thinking norms—technical manual figural (streamlined) forms A & B. Bensenville, IL: Scholastic Testing Service, Inc.
  60. Walton, C. C., Mowszowski, L., Lewis, S. J. G., & Naismith, S. L. (2014). Stuck in the mud: Time for change in the implementation of cognitive training research in ageing? Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 6.
  61. Welling, H. (2007). Four mental operations in creative cognition: The importance of abstraction. Creativity Research Journal, 19, 163-177. DOI: 10.1080/10400410701397214
  62. Zhang, W., & Niu, W. (2013). Creativity in the later life: Factors associated with the creativity of the Chinese elderly. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 47, 60-76.

Sabrina Rago, Valentina Rita Andolfi, Alessandro Antonietti, Giuseppe Iannoccari, Nicoletta Porcu, Chiara Valenti, Potenziare la flessibilità cognitiva in età anziana: gli effetti di un training in "RICERCHE DI PSICOLOGIA " 2/2020, pp 691-712, DOI: 10.3280/RIP2020-002011