Adult life span changes in immediate visual memory and verbal intelligence.
A sample of 558 women and 1,163 men 17 to 102 years old, screened for neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disease, was administered tests of immediate visual memory (Benton Visual Retention Test) and crystallized intelligence (Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale Vocabulary subtest) from 1 to 5 times over 27.7 years. Cross-sectional and longitudinal evidence led to the conclusion that the 65-74-year decade was a watershed for decremental changes in immediate visual memory and verbal intelligence. Age accounted for considerably less variance in vocabulary than in immediate memory. The proportion of individuals whose longitudinal trajectories were contrary to group trends decreased substantially with increased age; observed age changes remained when analyses were restricted to individuals who had perfect or near-perfect mental status scores. Selected neuronal loss and slower reproduction times were considered as possible causes.
Giambra, LM; Arenberg, D; Kawas, C; Zonderman, AB; Costa, PT
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