Aging, Decision-Making Abilities and Metacognitive Training
On April 17, 2019, Alessia Rosi, Tomaso Vecchi and Elena Cavallini have published an article entitled “Metacognitive-strategy training promotes decision-making ability in older adults” in Open Psychology.
A Blog Post by Pablo Markin.
In their paper, Alessia Rosi, Tomaso Vecchi and Elena Cavallini have investigated whether a decrease in certain decision-making capabilities with age can be stemmed through “a metacognitive-strategy decision-making training on practiced and non-practiced tasks” (200). On the basis of their experimental findings, these researchers have demonstrated that “the decision-making training group improved their decision-making skills significantly more than the active control training group” (200). This study contrasts with the scholarly literature that argues that “cognitive abilities that decrease with aging, such as fluid abilities […] [since] previous studies have found that older adults tend to use less analytical strategies and have difficulties in applying them in the correct way (Lemaire, Arnaud, & Lecacheur, 2004; Mata, Schooler & Rieskamp, 2007 […])” (200-201).
In this context, Rosi, Vecchi and Cavallini suggest the usefulness of metacognitive “interventions which promote an improvement in decision-making skills” (201). In the training sessions developed by these researchers, “older adults were involved […] in discussions on when and how to use strategies” (202). The authors of this study have “compared the effects of the metacognitive-strategy decision-making training with those of an active control training” (202). The scientific findings of this study have suggested that their intervention “based on a discussion on how to apply decision-making strategies, worked better than a training based on the practice of memory strategies with memory tasks” (210).
These results lead to the conclusion of these researchers that “teaching older adults an analytical and strategic way to analyze the decision-making problems allows them to increase the use of […] analytical processing […], not only in the analytical-based problems which require definitely the analysis of the problem structure and the use of effortful cognitive abilities (such as doing mathematical calculations), but also in the experiential-based problems” (210). Rosi, Vecchi and Cavallini have also found that “improving older adults’ analytical approach and awareness in decision strategies led participants to generalize their behavior to a new task, and consequently to enhance their ability to apply a decision rule correctly” (210), while indicating the importance of metacognitive principles.
By Pablo Markin
Featured Image Credits: RECAA and Train of Thought, Canada, 2015, May 22, 2015 | © Courtesy of ACT Project Concordia/Flickr.
The article has been well reviewed.