Visuospatial test performance declines with age, whereas verbal test performance remains fairly constant. This pattern has been attributed to an age-related decline in either right-hemisphere functioning or executive functions (EF), which may be associated with prefrontal cortical decline. We administered timed and untimed EF tests and visuospatial tests requiring substantial integrative skill (I-VS) or little or no integrative skill (non-I-VS) to young-old (74 and younger) and old-old (75 and older) healthy volunteers. Groups differed on I-VS tests and on many EF tests but not on non-I-VS tests. I-VS tests correlated highly with tests of executive functions, but non-I-VS tests did not. These results are interpreted as supporting the proposal that an age-related decline in EF underlies the decline in visuospatial test performance observed with advancing age. Other issues regarding the relationship between age and EF are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology