A latent variable approach to executive control in healthy aging

It is known that executive control is divided into three separable processes or components: update of contents in memory, change or alternation and inhibition of irrelevant information. However, executive control in older people has been less explored and the structure of the three components or executive functions of Miyake et al. (2000) has not been integrated with other models that propose additional components.

To know the structure of executive control in older people, in this study, different neuropsychological tests were administered, which statistical analysis grouped around for factors. Thus, the structure of the ‘general’ executive factor was compatible with the model of the three factors of Miyake et al., although some differences were found. That way, an additional factor that was related to executive control, named ‘efficiency of access to long-term memory’, and a mediator factor named ‘processing speed’ appeared in the analysis. Concerning that processing speed, it could be seen that during normal aging there are difficulties in maintaining the active objectives through the mediation of this processing speed. Finally, in line with our results, it was possible to see how older people show deficits in the tasks of executive function and in the processes that imply access to long-term and work memory.


Reference: Adrover-Roig D, Sesé A, Barceló F, & Palmer A. (2012). A latent variable approach to executive control in healthy ageing. Brain and Cognition; 78(3): 284-99