Age and planning tasks: The influence of ecological validity.

Louise Helen Phillips, M. Kliegel, M. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Planning ability is important in many everyday tasks, such as cooking and shopping. Previous studies have investigated aging effects on planning, looking at either widely used laboratory-based neuropsychological tasks such as the Tower of London (TOL) or more naturalistic planning tasks, such as organizing shopping errands. In the current study, we compare the effects of normal adult aging on both the TOL and a more ecologically valid planning task, the Plan-a-Day (PAD) task. There was a reliable decline in TOL planning performance with age, but no significant correlation between age and PAD planning performance. Age-related variance was partly explained by variance in information processing speed and education. It is proposed that in more ecologically valid planning tasks, age changes in processing speed can be compensated for by task-related knowledge. Implications for everyday planning performance by older adults are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-184
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Publication statusPublished - 2006




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