The Integrative Neuropsychological Theory of Executive-Related Abilities and Component Transactions (INTERACT): Best Predictors of Performance Across the Adult Lifespan




Crevier-Quintin, Emilie

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Recent neuropsychological research has stressed the sensitivity of the Prefrontal Cortex, mostly the Dorsolateral region, in relation to aging (Darowski et al., 2008). Prefrontal Cortex functions, such as Inhibitory Control (IC), are thought to wane steadily after the ages of 60-65 (Craik & Bialystok, 2006). Little is known about what changes occur between the stages of prefrontal optimal performance (i.e., ages 20-25), and the later periods of functional decline. The present study aimed to investigate performance differences between younger (ages 30-40; n=9), middle-aged (ages 50-60; n=10), and older adults (ages 70 and up; n=13), on five tasks of Executive Functions (EFs); specifically, assessing the abilities of problem representation, shifting, updating working memory, inhibition, and integrating valence and rewards into pursuing a goal. It was hypothesized that (a) quantitative age trends differentiating the three groups on the tasks would be found, (b) IC would be particularly targeted by the hypothesized age trends, and (c) the devolution of IC across the adult lifespan would be linear. MANOVA tests with all tasks of EFs representing the Dependent Variables and age serving as the Independent Variable revealed no significant main effect. Follow-up separate ANOVA tests however, suggested a statistically significant difference between the means of Groups 2 and 3 for the Updating Working Memory task, F(2,29)=5.374, p=.010, Scheffe (p=.012) and Bonferroni (p=.010). The contributions of interactions among EFs to the present results, recruitment challenges, and potential age effects are discussed.



executive functioning, aging, adult lifespan, cognitive decline