10 Dec 2012

Speed, working memory and ageing

Numerous authors have examined the relationship between speed of processing, working memory and age, and debated the role of these concepts in understanding individual differences in cognitive ability. There are arguments as to the relative contributions of both concepts, and most theorists tend to agree that slowing is the explanation for cognitive decline.

Using tasks that draw on working memory (holding placekeepers in mind) and fluid intelligence (task complexity incrementally increasing), it has been found that both speed and working memory are important for our understanding of individual differences. It is unlikely that speed of processing can completely explain the decline in fluid intelligence with age.

The reason may lie in the notion that something that is outside of and not integral to a factor (speed) cannot be as important as something within a factor (such as working memory) and can not account for the decline in intelligence with age. Speed of test-taking is also not sensitive to complexity manipulations, which is directly associated with fluid intelligence.

There are also numerous types of speed of processing, which have different relationships with intelligence.

The relationship between aspects of intelligence and age, which are likely to be important to those organisations hiring or training older workers, are complex. But we are here to help!  We have a range of measures of cognitive ability, including those tapping working memory, speed of information processing, fluid and crystallised intelligence. We administer and score the tests and give you a report on the outcomes, including a thorough analysis of results and recommendations.

Contact us to find out more.

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