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ERIC Number: EJ1050002
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Oct
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Perspective Taking in Older Age Revisited: A Motivational Perspective
Zhang, Xin; Fung, Helene H.; Stanley, Jennifer T.; Isaacowitz, Derek M.; Ho, Man Yee
Developmental Psychology, v49 n10 p1848-1858 Oct 2013
How perspective-taking ability changes with age (i.e., whether older adults are better at understanding others' behaviors and intentions and show greater empathy to others or not) is not clear, with prior empirical findings on this phenomenon yielding mixed results. In a series of experiments, we investigated the phenomenon from a motivational perspective. Perceived closeness between participants and the experimenter (Study 1) or the target in an emotion recognition task (Study 2) was manipulated to examine whether the closeness could influence participants' performance in faux pas recognition (Study 1) and emotion recognition (Study 2). It was found that the well-documented negative age effect (i.e., older adults performed worse than younger adults in faux pas and emotion recognition tasks) was only replicated in the control condition for both tasks. When closeness was experimentally increased, older adults enhanced their performance, and they now performed at a comparable level as younger adults. Findings from the 2 experiments suggest that the reported poorer performance of older adults in perspective-taking tasks might be attributable to a lack of motivation instead of ability to perform in laboratory settings. With the presence of strong motivation, older adults have the ability to perform equally well as younger adults.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Hong Kong
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A