Takahashi, M., & W. F. Overton. (1996). Formal reasoning in Japanese
older adults: The role of metacognitive strategy, task content, and social
factors. Journal of Adult Development, 3 (2), 81-91.
The study investigates the availability of deductive reasoning competence
in late adulthood. Forty six Japanese older (mean age=71) and 58 young
adults (mean age=19.6) were assessed for formal or deductive reasoning
using Overton's (1990) revision of the four card selection task. For older
adults, it was found that metacognitive strategy--operating as a procedure
designed to access reasoning competence--resulted in enhanced performance
levels. When the semantic content of the reasoning task involved emotional
issues, however, the metacognitive strategy failed to facilitate reasoning
performance. These results suggest that reasoning competence is available
in late adulthood but that performance is susceptible to contextual variables.
Social factors were not found to be significantly related to older adults'
reasoning performance. It was suggested that assessment of these factors
may have been based on too broad a definition to adequately describe the
status of the older Japanese adults. For the young, only semantic task
content was related to reasoning performance.