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The Alan Welford Memorial Lecture Ageing and human skill: a 40th anniversary

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Even 40 years after it was published, a re-reading of Alan Welford's seminal book, Ageing and Human Skill , offers important and curiously neglected ideas. In particular, it shows that current 'single factor' models for cognitive ageing, and for general intellectual abilities neglect the complexity of even apparently very simple tasks; that older individuals can be impressively good at acquiring new skills; that the performance of older people on novel tasks is different from that of young adults not only in quantitative terms, because they are slower and less accurate, but also qualitatively, in ways similar to individuals who have suffered damage to the frontal lobes of their brains. We celebrate Alan's prescience in being the first to clearly raise these issues, and to discuss elegant but sadly neglected experimental paradigms and techniques of analysis that allow them to be explored.
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Keywords: AGEING; COGNITIVE GERONTOLOGY; HUMAN PERFORMANCE; SKILLS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1997

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