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Psy 370a - Old Age and the Fear of Dying

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Alisa George

Prof. Eric Westry

Seasons of Life

PSY 370A

July 22, 2011

Old Age and the Fear of Dying

The stage would be late Adulthood and End of Life (Old Age). Aging is a continuous, complex, and dynamic proceed that begins birth ends with death. And unless we die in our early years, each of us will grow old and experience the effects of the aging process.

Biologically age does not correlate with chronological ages. Many bodily changes take place over the entire lifespan some beginning with birth. They are part of a relentless, post-maturational phenomenon called senescence (biological aging). Collagen is a substance which constitutes more than one-fourth of the body's protein. As age increases, the connective tissue becomes less elastic. The most obvious evidence of changes in collagen is wrinkles. However, since collagen fibers also surround the cells and blood vessels of the body, stiffening of these fibers could also affect the efficient functioning of many body systems.

The aging process brings change. During our lifetime, many individual changes we undergo are psychological .Three particularly relevant areas of psychological change are: information processing, personality, and the myth of senility. Information processing is difficult to isolate. The increases could be caused by a slowing of perception, transmission to the brain, decoding and recoding in the brain, transmission to the appropriate responding mechanism, an/or the mechanism of the response itself. When time is a factor, age differences appear. This change might affect products in which rapid responses are required in order to accomplish a task (e.g., using an electric food processor). Older persons need a longer period of time to react. Reaction time is also correlated with the complexity of the task (e.g., operating a pushbutton door lock). If both age and complexity increase, then behavior becomes less efficient. Since so many of today's routine activities are both complex and require rapid responses, these factors may make the tasks harder for older people. If physical and/or health problems are not present, adaptation and practice offset age-related decrements. Experience and usage can negate some reaction time loss. Intelligence endures does not appear to change with age until quite late in the life span. Decrements that do appear seem to be more a factor of motivation, vocabulary, contemporary skills, and speed than they are a factor of age-related loss.

In general, speed decreases as age increases, and since most intelligence test is timed, this could affect overall scores. The vocabulary of older people is frequently limited and less contemporary than that of younger persons. This is not due to lack of intelligence, but rather to two educational differences fewer



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