A Guide for the Perplexed

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1994, Vol 39(1), 54–55. Reviews the book, The Senescence of Human Vision by R. A. Weale (1992). Weale's first book on vision and aging, published some three decades ago (Weale, 1963), was for many years the best available treatment of the topic. That book, however, had to contend with a field that researchers had sampled only coarsely, one dotted with large and significant gaps. Now that a critical mass of work on aging and vision has been achieved, Weale's latest survey portrays a more mature, more complete field. Weale shows us that many gaps have been filled in, at least provisionally. The principal contribution, however, of Weale's new book is not in its literature review. The methodological mine fields, beautifully described by Weale, include the issues common to all gerontological research, sampling, distinguishing between disease processes and normal aging, developing age-appropnate testing procedures, ensuring comparability of different cohorts, and so on. Beyond these usual factors, the complex design of both eye and brain represent the tallest obstacles to good research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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