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  Previous issue (2007. Vol. 4, no. 4)


Publisher: National Research University Higher School of Economics

ISSN: 1813-8918

Started in 2005

Published quarterly


Lifespan Cognition

Craik F.
Doctor of Psychology, Senior Scientist, Rotman Research Institute, Toronto, Canada

Bialystok E.
Associate Scientist, Rotman Research Institute (status only), Toronto, Canada

The development of cognitive abilities in children and the decline of these abilities in older adulthood have both been studied extensively, yet these two aspects of cognitive science exist in relative isolation from each other. To some extent this situation of mutual neglect reflects the point that the subareas have emphasized different aspects of cognition, but it is clear that a unified theory of lifespan cognitive development must provide continuous mechanisms underlying growth and decline. In this article we suggest a framework based on the concepts of representation and control. Cognitive representations are laid down in the course of development and remain relatively stable throughout adulthood, whereas cognitive control rises steeply in children and declines in old age. Performance of tasks involving perception, attention, memory, thinking and language reflects the interaction of these two major aspects of the overall cognitive system. Future challenges include mapping these cognitive constructs onto the underlying neurobiology.

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