Self-perceptions of intellectual control and aging
The present research was conducted to investigate middle-aged and older adults’ beliefs about intellectual control and aging. Self-perception theory suggests that adults’ beliefs may be an outcome rather than a cause of their behavior in intellectual tasks and also may be influenced by their behavior in non-intellectual domains. Middle-aged and older adults (N = 86) were administered the Personality in Intellectual Aging Contexts Inventory, inductive reasoning and vocabulary tests associated with fluid and crystallized intelligence, and generalized scales of Internal and External Locus of Control. Regression analyses indicated that both ability performance and generalized locus of control were predictive of perceptions of Intellectual Self-Efficacy (R =.55) and Concern about Intellectual Aging (R =.64). Further analyses indicated that Intellectual Self-Efficacy remained constant with age during midlife but declined in old age, whereas Concern about Intellectual Aging was stable during middle adulthood and increased in later life. These age trends, however, were not significant when effects of ability performance and generalized locus of control were partialled. Results are discussed with respect to the development of adults’ beliefs about their intellectual functioning, previous research on personality-ability relations, and their implications for the design and assessment of cognitive intervention research. © 1986 by Hemisphere Publishing Corporation.
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