5 years ago

Why are there different age relations in cross-sectional and longitudinal comparisons of cognitive functioning?

Salthouse TA
A major challenge for researchers interested in investigating relations between aging and cognitive functioning is distinguishing influences of aging from other determinants of cognitive performance. For example, cross-sectional comparisons may be distorted because people of different ages were born and grew up in different time periods, and longitudinal comparisons may be distorted because performance on a second occasion is influenced by the experience of performing the tests on the first occasion. One way in which these different types of influences might be investigated is with research designs involving comparisons of people of different ages from the same birth cohorts who are all tested for the first time in different years. Results from several recent studies using these types of designs suggest that the age trends in some cognitive abilities more closely resemble those from cross-sectional comparisons than those from longitudinal comparisons. These findings imply that a major reason for different age trends in longitudinal and cross-sectional comparisons of cognitive functioning is that the prior experience with the tests inflates scores on the second occasion in longitudinal studies.

Publisher URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25382943

DOI: PubMed:25382943

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