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Psychology of Ageing

University of Warwick

Department of Psychology 2021/22

Module Code:


Module Name:

Psychology of Ageing

Module Credits (CATS):


Module Convener

Elizabeth Maylor

Module Teachers


Module Aims

With the proportion of older adults in the population steadily increasing, there is growing interest among researchers, medical practitioners, and policy makers in the capabilities and psychological functioning of older people. This advanced module therefore aims to:

Provide a critical analysis of the methods and theories that have been applied to the study of human ageing; to discuss several aspects of performance, from decline in sensory processes to changes in intellectual functions, including attention, memory and language; and it provides the opportunity to study cognition in an important (but often neglected) section of the population.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate a critical appreciation of methodological issues associated with the study of ageing

  • describe sensory and intellectual changes that accompany both normal and abnormal ageing

  • discuss these changes in relation to current theories and debate in cognitive ageing

Assessed by:

Abstract-writing assignment & exam.

Module Work Load

Module Length

12 Weeks


Two hours per week of lectures


One hour per week of seminars


Attendance at lectures and seminars is compulsory. In seminars, students will be required to discuss recent data and theoretical issues.

Module Assessment

Assessed work:

Abstract-Writing Assignment





Module Programme

1 Introduction: Definitions, descriptions and demographics 2 Methodological issues 3 Sensory, physiological and motor changes 4 Attention 5 Memory 6 Intelligence 7 Language 8 Theories of ageing 9 Audio/video presentations + feedback on group assignment 10 Abnormal ageing 11 Revision 12 Revision

Module Reading List

There is no single set text for this module. Each of the following books contains several chapters relevant to the module. Students are expected to make wide use of primary sources, available from journals in the Library. More detailed guidance on reading, including recommendations for purchase, appears in a document entitled Guidance on Reading available on the module website.

Birren, J. E., & Schaie, K. W. (Eds.). (1996, 2001, 2006, 2010, 2015). Handbook of the psychology of aging (4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th eds.). San Diego, CA: Academic Press. Cavanagh, J. C., & Blanchard-Fields, F. (2011). Adult development and aging (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Craik, F. I. M., & Salthouse, T. A. (Eds.). (2000, 2008). The handbook of aging and cognition (2nd and 3rd eds.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum/Psychology Press. Erber, J. T. (2013). Aging and older adulthood (3rd ed.). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. Park, D. C., & Schwarz, N. (Eds.). (2007). Cognitive aging: A primer (2nd ed.). Hove, East Sussex: Psychology Press. Perfect, T. J., & Maylor, E. A. (Eds.). (2000). Models of cognitive aging. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. Rabbitt, P. (2015). The aging mind: An owner’s manual. Hove, East Sussex: Routledge. Salthouse, T. A. (1991). Theoretical perspectives on cognitive aging. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Salthouse, T. A. (2010). Major issues in cognitive aging. New York: Oxford University Press. Stuart-Hamilton, I. (2012). The psychology of ageing: An introduction (5th ed.). London: Jessica Kingsley. Stuart-Hamilton, I. (2012). The psychology of ageing: An introduction (5th ed.). London: Jessica Kingsley.