Aging and executive control: Reports of a demise greatly exaggerated

  • Verhaeghen P
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Abstract

I report a series of meta-analyses on aging and executive control. A first set of analyses failed to find evidence for specific age-related deficits in tasks of selective attention (inhibition of return; negative priming; flanker; and Stroop) or tasks tapping local task-shifting costs (reading with distractors is an exception) but found evidence for specific age-related deficits in tasks of divided attention (dual tasking and global task-shifting costs). The second set examined whether executive control explained any age-related variance in complex cognition (episodic memory; reasoning; spatial abilities) over and beyond the effects of speed and working memory; it did not. Thus; the purported decline in executive control with advancing age is clearly not general; and it may ultimately play only a small role in explaining age-related deficits in complex cognition.

Author-supplied keywords

  • cognitive aging
  • executive control
  • inhibition
  • speed of processing

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Authors

  • Paul Verhaeghen

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