Influence of cognitive functioning on age-related performance declines in visuospatial sequence learning
Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate how age-related performance differences in a visuospatial sequence learning task relate to age-related declines in cognitive functioning.
Method: Cognitive functioning of 18 younger and 18 older participants was assessed using a standardized test battery. Participants then undertook a perceptual visuospatial sequence learning task. Various relationships between sequence learning and participants’ cognitive functioning were examined through correlation and factor analysis.
Results: Older participants exhibited significantly lower performance than their younger counterparts in the sequence learning task as well as in multiple cognitive functions. Factor analysis revealed two independent subsets of cognitive functions associated with performance in the sequence learning task, related to either the processing and storage of sequence information (first subset) or problem solving (second subset). Age-related declines were only found for the first subset of cognitive functions, which also explained a significant degree of the performance differences in the sequence learning task between age-groups.
Discussion: The results suggest that age-related performance differences in perceptual visuospatial sequence learning can be explained by declines in the ability to process and store sequence information in older adults, while a set of cognitive functions related to problem solving mediates performance differences independent of age.
Publication titleFrontiers in Psychology
Department/SchoolSchool of Psychological Sciences
PublisherFrontiers Research Foundation
Place of publicationSwitzerland
Rights statementCopyright 2017 Krüger, Hinder, Puri and Summers. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/