Don’t Forget the Person When Promoting Healthy Cognitive Aging: Comment on Smith (2016)

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Abstract

Smith (2016) provided a valuable review on healthy cognitive aging, addressing potential risk factors for dementia, as well as multiple mechanisms for preventing dementia. However, missing in this discussion was an acknowledgment of the potential that personality may play in shaping trajectories of cognitive aging. The current response provides a brief review of the ever accruing evidence that our dispositional traits and self-efficacy beliefs can predict trajectories of cognitive aging, as well as the mechanisms that produce these trajectories, including participants’ likelihood to adhere to intervention efforts to reduce cognitive decline. We conclude by presenting recommendations for how cognitive aging researchers and practitioners can integrate personality science into their work.

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