A theory termed the “Peak and Decline Model” describes aging and creativity in a restrictive sense, basing the theory on what has been observed in the past among persons that are famous for one reason or another. The theory states that humans age, reaching a personal critical age at which they are at their peak, and, due to this fact they produce their personal best work. The model states that most people are at their personal best in their late 30’s. This is when the cognitive and intellectual processes come together to make people the most creative that they will ever be. Presented as evidence to this theory are the many people that are famous throughout the past, such as Albert Einstein and the theory of relativity. In every field of human endeavor, whether it be the sciences, arts, engineering, or any other field, again and again the pattern repeats itself. Since there is so much evidence of achievement in this narrow span of years of age, from the thirties to the early forties in which so many have achieved so much that there was very little evidence to dispute this theory.
The more modern theory about how aging and creativity develop is termed the “Life Span Developmental Model”. This model or theory describes how the evolution of creativity in people can vary. The basic belief is that there is a disconnection of creativity and the aging process. As it states, in the past there was little chance for someone to develop their creativity throughout their lives into advanced adulthood or later life, because rarely did persons live long enough to express that creativity. In the future, there will be more opportunities for elderly to express this creativity into later life so as to give credence to this theory.
So here we have two opposing theories that have two completely different outcomes as far as the expression of creativity at different ages. This could be an interesting argument as to which side has better evidence and which side can explain creativity and aging more accurately in the future.
Give an example, such as a famous person, for each theory that supports each theory. Be sure to be specific about your example.
Consider what you have learned so far about the aging process and cognition. Pick one of the theories or models described and describe a biological process that can support that theory or model. Be specific about the process and then the outcome that would explain the chosen theory.
Finally, consider if the Life Span Developmental Model were suddenly the accepted model – what types of changes in society can you imagine happening. Name at least two changes that you could imagine occurring and give the direct rationale for the change.