Intraindividual variability across cognitive domains: investigation of dispersion levels and performance profiles in older adults




Hilborn, Jennifer Victoria

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A growing body of research suggests that substantial variability exists among cognitive abilities within individuals. This within-person variability, across cognitive domains is termed dispersion. The present study examined 304 non-demented, older adults to investigate the relationship between aging and the dispersion of cognitive functions in both a quantitative (overall levels of dispersion) and qualitative manner (patterns of dispersion). Quantitatively, higher levels of dispersion were observed in older-old adults and those identified as having suffered cognitive decline, suggesting that dispersion level may serve as a marker of cognitive integrity. Qualitatively, three distinct dispersion profiles were identified through clustering methods and found to be related to demographic, health and performance characteristics of the individuals displaying the particular profile patterns, suggesting that the patterns of dispersion may be a meaningful indicator of individual differences.



cognition disorders in old age