What happens to our cognitive abilities as we grow older? This course provides an overview of what is known about normal cognitive functioning in older adults as well as a brief introduction to the most common types of cognitive pathology associated with aging. The course begins by examining factors that indirectly may affect cognitive processing as we age, such as stereotypes and sensory changes. Next, the neurological changes that occur with aging as well as the assumed functional cognitive implications of these changes are discussed, followed by consideration of specific aspects of cognition, including attention, memory, language, and decision making. The last section of the course examines the most common cognitive disorders that occur with aging and discusses factors that influence the expression of pathology, such as genetic background, health, stress, and psychological factors.
Prerequisites: PSYC 201 or permission of the instructor.