AGE AND INTELLIGENCE ACROSS THE ADULT LIFE SPAN in .NET

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AGE AND INTELLIGENCE ACROSS THE ADULT LIFE SPAN
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years (Gribbin, Schaie, & Parham, 1980). Being involved in a stimulating early work experience has also been associated with IQ maintenance (Willis, 1985), as has coming from high socioeconomic status and remaining fully engaged with their environment (Schaie, 1984). In contrast, the largest declines tend to be shown by older adults (most notably by intelligent females) who have faced family dissolution or personal disengagement (Willis, 1985); widowed women who were never in the workforce and who were disengaged were particularly vulnerable to cognitive decline (Schaie, 1984). Additionally, longitudinal data obtained on World War II veterans tested twice (40-year interval) revealed significant relationships between participation in cognitive activities (and health, and education) and maintenance of intelligence (Arbuckle, Gold, Andres, Schwartzman, & Chaikelson, 1992). However, as Hultsch et al. (1999) pointed out, both the Schaie and Arbuckle data used lifestyle criteria that are confounded with numerous factors such as socioeconomic status and education, raising the possibility that differences in initial ability level were largely responsible for producing the apparent maintenance of intellectual ability in old age. Consequently, many of the longitudinal findings, like the cross-sectional findings, prevent a clear understanding of cause versus effect. Probably the best data for addressing the causality issue are provided by the Victoria Longitudinal Study of 250 middle-aged and older adults tested three times in six years (the initial sample at time 1 comprised 487 adults ages 55 86) (Hultsch et al., 1999). The investigators administered a battery of tests that measured nine hypothesized latent variables, three of which involved crystallized intelligence (vocabulary, story recall, reading comprehension) with the rest emphasizing memory or processing speed. In a very well-designed and well-controlled study, they assessed activity lifestyle in a variety of areas such as physical fitness, social activities, and novel information processing activities (e.g., playing bridge, learning a language), while also measuring the self-reported health and personality of the sub-
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jects. They identified a significant relationship between intellectually related activities (but not social and physical activities) and change in cognitive functioning, but overall their hypotheses involving health, personality, and lifestyle were not supported. Furthermore, the results of Hultsch et al. s (1999) structural equation modeling were just as supportive of the hypothesis that intelligent people lead intellectually stimulating lives as vice versa. In addition, their failure to include Gf tasks in their design prevented a possible understanding of differences in the maintenance of Gf versus Gc. Overall, the huge amount of cross-sectional and longitudinal literature that either directly or indirectly pertains to the question of whether cognitive decline can be attenuated or eliminated is inconclusive. Ideally, future studies will use the sophisticated statistical methodology and longitudinal design employed by Hultsch et al. (1999) with clinical instruments, such as the WAIS-III, KAIT, or Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability III (see 14), that include construct valid Gf and Gc scales.
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The relationship between aging and intelligence is reviewed in this chapter, with the key question being the nature of the relationship between measures of crystallized ability (such as V-IQ and VCI) and fluid ability (such as P-IQ and POI) to the normal aging process. Although Schaie and his colleagues have conducted the most exhaustive and excellent investigations of this topic, their general conclusion of small declines occurring relatively late in life were based on the group-administered, highly speeded, and old PMA test. Of more importance for clinicians are the relationships to advancing age of the scores yielded by individually administered tests of intelligence such as the WAIS-III and KAIT (and the WJ III; see the section on CHC Abilities across the Life Span in 14).
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190 PART II INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES ON AGE, SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS, AND OTHER KEY VARIABLES Consequently, the degree to which scores on these clinical tests of intelligence change across the life span based on cross-sectional and longitudinal data, as well as possible explanations for these changes, are the focus of this researchbased chapter. When uncontrolled for educational attainment, mean scores on Wechsler s IQ scales, factor indexes, and scaled scores decrease with age in diverse cross-sectional investigations. With education controlled, however, V-IQ, VCI, and most Verbal scaled scores are maintained throughout most of the adult age range before declining substantially in the mid-70s and 80s. In contrast, even with a control for educational attainment, P-IQ, POI, PSI, and all Performance subtests (plus the new Letter-Number Sequencing subtest on the Verbal Scale) are extremely vulnerable to the effects of normal aging. These results are remarkably consistent for the WAIS, WAIS-R, and WAIS-III, and conform to Horn s predictions from his expanded and refined Gf Gc theory. The findings are also supported in cross-sectional analyses of pertinent scales and subtests in tests developed by Kaufman and Kaufman (KAIT, K-BIT, K-SNAP, K-FAST). Taken together, the Wechsler and Kaufman cross-sectional data reveal maintenance for several Horn abilities (Gc, Gq, and Glr when the stimuli to be recalled are school-related) and extreme vulnerability for other Horn abilities (Gf, Gv, Gs, and Glr when the stimuli to be recalled are novel). From Baltes s theory, pragmatic abilities were maintained and mechanics abilities were vulnerable. When controlled for education, vulnerable abilities peak in the early 20s on nearly all measures. The peak for maintained abilities with education controlled has shifted in recent generations. With data gathered before 1980, the peak was in the 60s; more recent data suggest that peak performance is reached in the late 40s to early 50s. WMS-III scales, both immediate and delayed recall, demonstrate extreme vulnerability, consistent with the literature on episodic memory. Longitudinal investigations of the relationship between aging and IQ were conducted by several researchers using the WAIS, but the findings are difficult to interpret because of the highly selective attrition that accompanies any longitudinal investigation and the practice effect that differentially influences scores on the Verbal and Performance Scales (with gains in P-IQ being far more substantial) when the same individuals are tested over and over again. Owens s longitudinal investigation of the Army Alpha, which resembles Wechsler s Verbal Scale, provided interesting data when he controlled for time lag (cultural change); overall, his findings are in agreement with the results of the Wechsler and Kaufman studies. The comprehensive series of studies conducted by Schaie and his colleagues both agree and disagree with the Wechsler/Kaufman results. The PMA subtests that are the most fluid show earlier declines than the more crystallized tasks. However, unlike the Wechsler and Kaufman findings, sizable decrements with age begin relatively late in life (the decade of the 60s). Part of the difference between Schaie s and the Wechsler/Kaufman findings may result from the control for cohort effects that Schaie traditionally applies, a control that is arguable. To gain more insight into the relationship between aging and IQ on Wechsler s scales, Kaufman conducted two longitudinal studies with independent samples, the first using four cohorts from the WAIS and WAIS-R standardization samples (25-year interval) and the second using seven cohorts from the WAIS-R and WAIS-III normative samples (17-year interval). In each study, the cohorts at time 1 and time 2 were shown to be comparable on meaningful background variables. To compare gains or losses in intelligence, scores were corrected for instrument and time lag (cultural change). Both studies gave results similar to each other and to the bulk of cross-sectional data: maintenance of V-IQ and extreme vulnerability of P-IQ.
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