Strategy Use in Reasoning Training With Older Adults

Jane S. Saczynski, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Sherry L. Willis, Pennsylvania State University
K. Warner Schaie


The relationship between strategy use and cognitive training gains on reasoning ability is examined in a sample of 393 older participants in the Seattle Longitudinal Training Study. Pre- and posttest gains on the use of strategies specific to reasoning ability were compared for the elderly trained on reasoning versus spatial orientation ability. The present study involves an objective behavioral method of measuring strategy use on tests of inductive reasoning. Results showed that participants trained on reasoning significantly increased strategy use from pre- to posttest on two reasoning outcome measures compared to participants trained on spatial orientation. Higher strategy use by inductive reasoning trainees was also associated with greater training gain on reasoning outcome measures, suggesting strategy use as a possible mechanism of training gain. In addition, young-old participants and those with higher education, irrespective of training condition, exhibited greater pre- to posttest gain in strategy use.