Adults' age-related differences in adaptivity of strategy choices: Evidence from computational estimation


  • Lemaire P
  • Arnaud L
  • Lecacheur M

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Four experiments document adults' age-related changes in computational estimation performance and in adaptivity of strategy choices (i.e., the ability to choose the most precise strategy on each trial). Young and older adults were asked to provide estimates of 2-by-2-digit multiplication problems (e.g., 43 x 78) under varying conditions of speed and accuracy emphasis. The main findings showed that (a) older adults provided less accurate estimates and took more time to estimate, especially on the most difficult problems or when using harder strategies; (b) young and older adults had similar strategy preferences; and (c) older adults chose estimation strategies less adaptively than young adults. Implications of these findings for understanding strategic changes during adulthood in a wide variety of cognitive domains are discussed.

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