Bruna Pikš

MEI:CogSci - University of Ljubljana
Ljubljana, Slovenia

INDECS 12(4), 293-304, 2014
DOI 10.7906/indecs.12.4.3
Full text available here.

Received: 23 October 2014
Accepted: 27 October 2014
Regular article


The current body of research often focuses on the problem of cognitive decline through ageing. People adapt to these changes of cognitive resources by using brain reserve. An overview of results of different studies on how cognitive abilities of older adults decline highlights high variability of conclusions and sometimes contradiction but it has been shown older adults can be as good as or even better than younger participants in specific domains. Among others, personal meaningfulness of a situation and closeness to the researcher can be strong factors when assessing cognitive abilities and the aim of this paper was to research how these effect cognitive efficiency.

In the pilot study we eliminated the factor of laboratory setting and checked how cognitive efficiency and abilities change in relation to motivation. Forty-eight participants, divided into two age groups, were asked to pass a proverb interpretation test. The results showed that participant's subjective view on the researcher, perceived closeness, correlated with the adequacy in proverb interpretation. Both groups scored higher on adequacy of interpretation when they perceived to be close to the researcher. The younger adults outperformed the older but those in the older adults' group, who felt to be close to the researcher scored as well as younger adults who didn't perceived to be close to the researcher. This motivational reserve might play a role in assessing cognitive abilities and pathologies that affect the outcome of neuropsychological tests.


cognitive ability, cognitive decline, motivational reserve, closeness, proverb interpretation task


APA:2227, 2340, 2343, 2360, 2720, 2860

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