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Zacks, R., & Hasher, L. (1997). Cognitive Gerontology and Attentional Inhibition: A reply to Burke and McDowd. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 52B, 274-283.


Our response to the Burke and McDowd critiques (in this issue) begins with a history of the origins of the inhibitory deficit view and of its development since 1988 as well as with an account of some particularly useful findings and of our preferred mode of theory building, which is nonformal and empirically driven. Against this background, we find many points of agreement with Burke and McDowd but also many points of disagreement. For example, we agree with Burke that many aspects of language comprehension and production are age invariant, but we disagree that all such findings count against our viewpoint. Likewise, we readily acknowledge the problems in measuring inhibition that McDowd so clearly documents, but do not feel that this is a fatal problem as long as the inhibitory deficit view continues to be viable with the attentional literature, continues to permit the integration of a large body of existing data, and continues to generate new predicitions.

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