Chapter

The Lacunae of Loss? Aging and the Differentiation of Cognitive Abilities

Patrick Rabbitt and Mike Anderson

in Lifespan Cognition

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195169539
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847204 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169539.003.0023
The Lacunae of Loss? Aging and the Differentiation of Cognitive Abilities

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This chapter examines the effect of aging on cognitive abilities and asks whether all cognitive abilities show evidence of decline or whether some abilities are relatively spared. Declines in specific abilities would be lacunae of loss sparing the archipelagos of surviving abilities. This chapter looks at evidence from the perspective of maintenance or loss of consistency of relationships between mental abilities as age advances. Analysis of cross-sectional data from a large elderly sample showed age impaired performance on all tests that individuals were given, with the exception of some vocabulary tests. However, the amounts of total variance in test performance associated with differences in age between forty-nine and ninety-two years were very modest—not exceeding 22%. Further analysis of the data set showed that levels of correlations between scores on intelligence tests and other tests of fluid intelligence, between intelligence tests and other cognitive tests, and between other cognitive tests are consistently higher in a sample aged from seventy to ninety-two years than in a sample aged from forty-nine to sixty-nine years.

Keywords: aging; cognitive abilities; mental abilities; test performance; fluid intelligence; cognitive tests; intelligence tests; decline; elderly

Chapter.  9094 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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