Med Decis Making - Thinking about numbers is not my idea of fun: need for cognition mediates age differences in numeracy performance.


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CKGROUND: Numeracy refers to people's ability to use numbers. Low numeracy has been associated with difficulties in understanding risk-benefit information and making health decisions. Older adults tend to perform worse than younger adults on measures of numeracy, but some theories of aging suggest that older adults may lack motivation for such tasks. We therefore test whether age differences in numeracy performance are mediated by a reduced motivation to think hard about complex problems-as measured by need for cognition.METHOD: We recruited an age-diverse convenience sample of 306 UK adults. They completed measures of numeracy and need for cognition. They self-reported their educational attainment and other demographics.RESULTS: Older age was related to lower numeracy and lower need for cognition. The negative relationship between age and numeracy was mediated by need for cognition. These findings held after we controlled for educational attainment and other demographic factors.DISCUSSION: Older adults may show lower numeracy performance due to lack of motivation. We discuss strategies for improving people's motivation to complete numeracy measures and other numerical tasks.

Resumo Limpo

ckground numeraci refer peopl abil use number low numeraci associ difficulti understand riskbenefit inform make health decis older adult tend perform wors younger adult measur numeraci theori age suggest older adult may lack motiv task therefor test whether age differ numeraci perform mediat reduc motiv think hard complex problemsa measur need cognitionmethod recruit agedivers conveni sampl uk adult complet measur numeraci need cognit selfreport educ attain demographicsresult older age relat lower numeraci lower need cognit negat relationship age numeraci mediat need cognit find held control educ attain demograph factorsdiscuss older adult may show lower numeraci perform due lack motiv discuss strategi improv peopl motiv complet numeraci measur numer task

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