Complexity of Primary Lifetime Occupation and Cognitive Processing

Document identifier: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-75899
Access full text here:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01861
Keyword: Engineering and Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics, Teknik och teknologier, Maskinteknik, Produktionsteknik, arbetsvetenskap och ergonomi, Occupational complexity, Work complexity, DOT, Executive functioning, Inhibition, Switching, Updating, Cognition, Engineering Psychology, Teknisk psykologi
Publication year: 2019
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SDG 3 Good health and wellbeingSDG 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure
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Abstract:

Today, there are a lack of studies focusing on the relationship between occupational complexity and executive functioning. This is noteworthy since executive functions are core aspects of cognitive processing. The present study was aimed to investigate if three occupational complexity factors (with data, people, and things) of main lifetime occupation were related to performance in executive tasks (inhibition, switching, updating). We analyzed cross-sectional data that were available for 225 participants aged 50–75 years. Results from structural equation models showed that higher complexity levels of working with data were related to lower error rates in the updating component of cognitive control. In addition, higher rates of complexity working with people was associated with lower error rates in task-switching, which also persisted after adjustment of fluid intelligence. Complexity with things, however, was not related to performance in the executive tasks. Future studies would benefit from a longitudinal design to investigate if the results from this study also hold in the long term and to further investigate the directionality between factors.

Authors

Daniel Eriksson Sörman

Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
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Patrik Hansson

Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
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Ilona Pritschke

Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
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Jessica Körning Ljungberg

Luleå tekniska universitet; Människa och teknik; Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
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