A Chapter by Debbie Barry

An essay in response to the RALI exercise. Written for PSY 202: Adult Development and Life Assessment.




Response to the RALI exercise

September 28, 2009


I did the RALI exercise before reading the assigned chapters of Boyd and Bee's Adult Development in order to see what preconceived ideas I might have about adult learners.  I had three errors on the RALI exercise:

          14. Compared with youth, adults usually require a longer time to perform learning tasks.

          16. Age in itself does little to affect an individual's power to learn.

          31. A major change in distance acuity occurs between 50 and 60 years of age.

I believed that the first two of these were false and that the third was true.

Numbers 14 and 16 deal with mental abilities.  I based my answers on my own experiences with learning new skills at the same time my two sons, now ages 9 and 8, were learning them.  In almost every case, I have performed the learning tasks more quickly than my sons have performed them, and my elder son has performed the learning tasks more quickly than his younger brother has performed them.  I believed that any perception that adults take longer to learn things than younger people take was due to ageism (Boyd and Bee, 10).  Similarly, I read number 16 as meaning a negative effect, and I felt that a belief that increased age has a negative effect on a person's power to learn would be a result of ageism.

After reading the text, I understand that age does appear to have a negative correlation to memory functions. Figure 1.2 clearly illustrates this negative correlation if one allows for a slight aberration in the 30s (Boyd and Bee, 13).

Number 31 deals with physiological factors.  I believed that a major change in distance acuity does occur between 50 and 60 years of age.  According to the grading key at the end of the RALI exercise, there is a sharp decline in vision from age 40 to 55, which is somewhat younger than what I believed it would be.

The assigned text dealt with development in children.  Although I did read about memory abilities in older adults, and there was some mention of the different roles of older adults in Western cultures as contrasted with other cultures, I did not see any discussion or research which would suggest an age at which an adult's vision would be expected to decline.

I found the text interesting and engaging, although I covered most of it in my general psychology class last fall.  The RALI exercise was also interesting, and I was somewhat surprised to find that the majority of my ideas about adult development were supported by the exercise.

© 2017 Debbie Barry

Author's Note

Debbie Barry
Initial reactions and constructive criticism appreciated.

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Added on November 10, 2017
Last Updated on November 10, 2017
Tags: essay, psychology, assessment, RALI, adult development, life assessment

A Journey through My College Papers


Debbie Barry
Debbie Barry

Clarkston, MI

I live with my husband in southeastern Michigan with our two cats, Mister and Goblin. We enjoy exploring history through French and Indian War re-enactment and through medieval re-enactment in the So.. more..