Aging and maintaining skilled performance: Cognitive compensation in the game of bridge

Susan Diane Briggs, Purdue University


The present study utilized molar equivalence-molecular decomposition strategy (Charness, 1981a; 1981b) to investigate chunking as a potential cognitive compensatory strategy whereby older adults maintain skilled performance in the game of bridge. Participants were 30 skilled bridge players aged 41 to 82. They completed tasks assessing bridge performance and its components, chunking ability, working memory capacity, and general cognitive abilities (i.e., simple speed of response, vocabulary, visuospatial ability, and processing speed). A self-report measure of the use of various compensatory strategies to maintain performance in bridge was also administered. Data analysis revealed no evidence that older bridge players use chunking to cognitively compensate for age-related cognitive changes. Post hoc analyses of a card recall task revealed a Card Type (honor vs. non-honor) by Time interaction, indicating a preference for recall of honor cards that increased over time. Results are discussed in terms of task and sample factors that may have interfered with hypothesis testing and design modifications that could offer at least partial resolution to these issues. ^




Major Professor: Philip S. Fastenau, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Cognitive

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