Planfulness and problem solving in older adults

C. C. Adams, G. W. Rebok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The applicability of problem solving concepts such as planfulness and depth of search to older adult cognitive behavior was considered. Eighteen males (sixty to eighty-nine years) and eighteen females (sixty to eighty-two years) solved isomorphic inquiry problems involving elimination of number and letter alternatives from a twenty-four item stimulus array. Half of the participants were given planning instructions designed to deepen their search through existing knowledge, while half received no instruction. Analyses of the total number of questions to solution and the percentage reduction in number of alternatives produced by each question revealed no reliable gender-related differences. Planning instructions, however, reduced the number of questions prior to solution and increased the informational value of most inquiries. The results were interpreted in terms of a metacognitive strategy deficiency in later life. Theoretical issues related to the construction and validation of information-processing models that depend on 'real-world' knowledge were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-282
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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