Processing speed differences between 70- and 83-year-olds matched on childhood IQ

Ian J. Deary*, Stuart J. Ritchie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Processing speed is an important human cognitive capability that might underlie differences in other cognitive skills and their aging. We aimed to test aging-related processing speed differences using a novel cross-sectional design that adjusted for cognitive ability tested in youth. We examined aging differences on three different ways of assessing processing speed: psychometric, experimental, and psychophysical. We compared large narrow-age cohorts of 70- and 83-year-old people who were matched for cognitive ability in childhood. There were decrements of substantial effect size in all processing speed assessments in the older group that were not accounted for by prior cognitive ability, health, or fitness differences, though these factors also contributed to processing speed differences. These findings confirm age-related cognitive slowing using an unusual research design, and provide evidence against recent theories characterizing aging-related cognitive decline as a myth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-33
Number of pages6
Early online date21 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Aging
  • Health
  • IQ
  • Processing speed


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