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Disentangling the Effects of Processing Speed on the Association between Age Differences and Fluid Intelligence


Schubert, Anna-Lena; Hagemann, Dirk; Löffler, Christoph; Frischkorn, Gidon T (2019). Disentangling the Effects of Processing Speed on the Association between Age Differences and Fluid Intelligence. Journal of Intelligence, 8(1):1-20.

Abstract

Several studies have demonstrated that individual differences in processing speed fully mediate the association between age and intelligence, whereas the association between processing speed and intelligence cannot be explained by age differences. Because measures of processing speed reflect a plethora of cognitive and motivational processes, it cannot be determined which specific processes give rise to this mediation effect. This makes it hard to decide whether these processes should be conceived of as a cause or an indicator of cognitive aging. In the present study, we addressed this question by using a neurocognitive psychometrics approach to decompose the association between age differences and fluid intelligence. Reanalyzing data from two previously published datasets containing 223 participants between 18 and 61 years, we investigated whether individual differences in diffusion model parameters and in ERP latencies associated with higher-order attentional processing explained the association between age differences and fluid intelligence. We demonstrate that individual differences in the speed of non-decisional processes such as encoding, response preparation, and response execution, and individual differences in latencies of ERP components associated with higher-order cognitive processes explained the negative association between age differences and fluid intelligence. Because both parameters jointly accounted for the association between age differences and fluid intelligence, age-related differences in both parameters may reflect age-related differences in anterior brain regions associated with response planning that are prone to be affected by age-related changes. Conversely, age differences did not account for the association between processing speed and fluid intelligence. Our results suggest that the relationship between age differences and fluid intelligence is multifactorially determined.

Abstract

Several studies have demonstrated that individual differences in processing speed fully mediate the association between age and intelligence, whereas the association between processing speed and intelligence cannot be explained by age differences. Because measures of processing speed reflect a plethora of cognitive and motivational processes, it cannot be determined which specific processes give rise to this mediation effect. This makes it hard to decide whether these processes should be conceived of as a cause or an indicator of cognitive aging. In the present study, we addressed this question by using a neurocognitive psychometrics approach to decompose the association between age differences and fluid intelligence. Reanalyzing data from two previously published datasets containing 223 participants between 18 and 61 years, we investigated whether individual differences in diffusion model parameters and in ERP latencies associated with higher-order attentional processing explained the association between age differences and fluid intelligence. We demonstrate that individual differences in the speed of non-decisional processes such as encoding, response preparation, and response execution, and individual differences in latencies of ERP components associated with higher-order cognitive processes explained the negative association between age differences and fluid intelligence. Because both parameters jointly accounted for the association between age differences and fluid intelligence, age-related differences in both parameters may reflect age-related differences in anterior brain regions associated with response planning that are prone to be affected by age-related changes. Conversely, age differences did not account for the association between processing speed and fluid intelligence. Our results suggest that the relationship between age differences and fluid intelligence is multifactorially determined.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Developmental and Educational Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Education
Life Sciences > Cognitive Neuroscience
Language:English
Date:25 December 2019
Deposited On:20 Jan 2021 15:54
Last Modified:25 Mar 2024 02:46
Publisher:MDPI Publishing
ISSN:2079-3200
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence8010001
PubMed ID:31881681
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)