The efficiency of using everyday technologial devices by older adults: The role of cognitive functions

K. Slegers*, M.P.J. van Boxtel, J. Jolles

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Older adults experience more problems than younger people when using everyday technological devices such as personal computers, automatic teller machines and microwave ovens. Such problems may, have serious consequences For the autonomy of older adults Since the ability to use technology is becoming essential in everyday fife. One potential cause of these difficulties is age-related decline of cognitive functions. TO test the role of cognitive abilities in performing technological tasks, we design die Technological Transfer Test (TTT). This and ecologically valid test comprises eight technological tasks that are common in modern life (operating a CD player, a telephone, all ATM, a train-ticket vending machine, a microwave-oven, an alarm clock, a smart card charging device and a telephone voice menu). The TTT and a comprehensive battery of cognitive tests were administered to 236 healthy adults aged 64 75 Years on two separate Occasions. The results demonstrated that the performance time for five of the eight tasks was predicted by cognitive abilities. The exact cognitive functions affecting technological performance varied by the technological task. Among several measures and components of cognition, the speed of information processing and cognitive flexibility had the greatest predictive power. The results imply that age-related cognitive decline has a profound effect oil the interaction between Older adults and technological appliances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-325
JournalAgeing & Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

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