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12-01-2018 | Original Article | Uitgave 6/2019

Psychological Research 6/2019

Cognitive functioning: is it all or none?

Psychological Research > Uitgave 6/2019
Isabel M. Introzzi, María M. Richard´s, Ana Comesaña, Ana García Coni


Under various circumstances, the cognitive system operates in a global manner that is not very precise and barely discriminatory. This form of operating has been described via a general principal that Diamond (Developmental Psychology 45:130–138, 2009) has denominated the All or None Hypothesis. This author has described a set of corollaries derived from this hypothesis that make it possible to verify it in each one of these domains. Although there is evidence of the global and non-discriminate way in which the cognitive system operates in populations of children, to date, there are no studies that have examined whether this mode of operation is also present in populations of adults. Researchers have yet to determine whether these corollaries apply to middle-aged adults. For this reason, this is the current study’s principal objective. A sample of 73 participants with ages ranging from 18 to 57 of both genders was evaluated. A modified version of the arrows test in Davidson et al. (Neuropsychologia 44:2037–2078, 2006) was used to analyze the three corollaries. The results obtained in this study can be interpreted as evidence in favor of the corollaries analyzed herein. Furthermore, they indicate that adult populations have a global response mode that is barely differentiated and that is activated by default in the face of problems and situations that demand behaviors and/or thoughts that are not very analytical and differentiated. However, in contexts that demand greater discrimination, this global mode is substituted by a controlled mode that requires greater cognitive effort and more differentiated processing.

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