Age changes in processing speed as a leading indicator of cognitive aging.

Department of Psychology, Indiana University Southeast, 5201 Grant Line Road, New Albany, IN 47150, USA.
Psychology and Aging (Impact Factor: 2.73). 10/2007; 22(3):558-68. DOI: 10.1037/0882-7974.22.3.558
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Bivariate dual change score models were applied to longitudinal data from the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging to compare the dynamic predictions of 2-component theories of intelligence and the processing speed theory of cognitive aging. Data from up to 5 measurement occasions covering a 16-year period were available from 806 participants ranging in age from 50 to 88 years at the first measurement wave. Factors were generated to tap 4 general cognitive domains: verbal ability, spatial ability, memory, and processing speed. Model fitting indicated no dynamic relationship between verbal and spatial factors, providing no support for the hypothesis that age changes in fluid abilities drive age changes in crystallized abilities. The results suggest that, as predicted by the processing speed theory of cognitive aging, processing speed is a leading indicator of age changes in memory and spatial ability, but not verbal ability.

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