Efficiency of route selection as a function of age

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Route selection; Aging; Executive functioning


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Two tasks hypothesized to assess the efficiency of route selection were administered to 328 adults ranging from 18 to 93 years of age. Increased age was associated with slower completion of mazes, even after adjusting for differences in perceptual-motor speed, and with longer and less accurate routes in a task in which participants were asked to visit designated exhibits in a zoo. The route selection measures were correlated with measures hypothesized to represent executive functioning, such as the number of categories in the Wisconsin card sorting test and the number of words generated in a category fluency test. However, most of the age-related influences on the measures from the route selection tasks were shared with age-related effects on established cognitive abilities, which implies that the same mechanisms may account for the relations of age on both sets of variables.

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