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Journal Articles Aging Clinical and Experimental Research Year : 2018

The shifting self in aging


This study investigated the ability of older adults to shift between self-images. Methods We designed a shifting-self task in which older adults and younger adults were invited to produce statements describing their physical self (e.g., “I am tall”) and psychological self (e.g., “I am cheerful”). Participants were invited to shift between physical-self statements and psychological-self statements and, on a control task, to produce two blocks of physical-self statements and psychological-self statements. They also performed a typical shifting task (i.e., the plus–minus task). Results Analysis showed slower completion time on the shifting-self task in older adults than in younger adults. Time to complete the shifting-self task was longer than that for the control task in both older and younger adults. Performances on the shifting-self task were significantly correlated with performances on the plus–minus task. Discussion We hypothesized that older adults take more time to shift between self-images because they enjoy self-stability. In other words, the tendency of older adults to shift between self-images more slowly than younger adults might be because they have more consistent or stable self-concepts, and are therefore less inclined to “change” their self-images.


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Dates and versions

hal-03343633 , version 1 (14-09-2021)



Emin Altintas, Karim Gallouj, Mohamad El Haj. The shifting self in aging. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 2018, 30 (12), pp.1505-1512. ⟨10.1007/s40520-018-1069-8⟩. ⟨hal-03343633⟩
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