Different association of cognitive functions with visuomotor adaptation in young and older adults.

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It has been proposed before that visuomotor adaptation proceeds in stages, each characterized by different cognitive demands. Since cognitions decays in older age, this study investigates how this decay may affect different stages of visuomotor adaptation.
20 young and 20 older adults completed a battery of cognitive tests, each pertinent to a different adaptation stage: a switch task, a Stroop task and a four-choice-reaction-time task quantified cognitive flexibility, inhibition and automated response execution, respectively. We then administered a visuomotor adaptation task in which participants pointed with their arm under 60° visual rotation. The registered data were analysed to determine whether good and poor cognitive performers differed with respect to their pointing accuracy at different times throughout adaptation.
Young adults outperformed older adults both in the visuomotor adaptation task and in the cognitive tests. In both age groups, switching performance was not associated with adaptation. In young adults, Stroop performance was associated only with early adaptation whereas in older adults, Stroop performance was associated both with early and with late adaptation. In young adults, performance on the four-choice-reaction-time-task was correlated both with early and with late adaptation whereas in older adults, it was not correlated with adaptation at all.
These results indicate that during adaptation, older adults remain in a stage which requires high inhibitory control whereas younger adults proceed into an automation stage. This age difference may reflect a decline of inhibition cognitive processing in older adults which may be associated to declines in visuomotor adaptation performance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication4th international Conference Aging and Cognition 2017 : abstract book
Number of pages1
PublisherUniversity of Zurich
Publication date2017
Pages100
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Eventinternational Conference Aging and Cognition - Zürich, Switzerland
Duration: 20.04.201722.04.2017
Conference number: 4

ID: 2969266

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