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Changes in executive function across adulthood

Brunsdon, Victoria E.A., Bradford, Elisabeth E.F., De Lillo, Martina, Ferguson, Heather J. (2017) Changes in executive function across adulthood. In: International Conference for Cognitive Neuroscience of Executive Functions, September, 2017, Padova, Italy. (Unpublished) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:62444)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)


Executive functions play an important role in our everyday life, allowing us to consider other people’s perspectives, focus attention on specific tasks, and to engage in successful problem solving. Prior research has found that general executive functions may vary at different ages, with older age often characterised by a decline in executive functioning. The current study sought to explore whether these age-related declines reflect overall executive functioning deficits, or whether specific deficits in separable components of executive function can be seen at different ages. Participants aged 18-86 years-old completed a battery of executive function tasks assessing the specific roles of working memory (operation span), planning (Tower of Hanoi), cognitive flexibility (task-switching) and inhibitory control (Stroop). As expected, results revealed that inhibitory control declined throughout adulthood. Interestingly, working memory was found to be maintained across adulthood, until around the age of 60 years-old when a decline in working memory begins to emerge. Cognitive flexibility and planning abilities were found to be stable across adulthood, with no apparent declines in older age. Results suggest that the influence of age on executive function abilities is not an all-or-nothing capacity, with distinct performance across separable measures of executive function abilities. Older age is characterised by a decline in inhibitory control and working memory, but other components of executive function are maintained across the lifespan.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Poster)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Victoria Brunsdon
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2017 16:05 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:47 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Brunsdon, Victoria E.A.:
Bradford, Elisabeth E.F.:
Ferguson, Heather J.:
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