Attention and Inhibitory Mechanisms

It has also been proposed that aging impairs attention and inhibitory processes, leading to greater interference and difficulty in suppressing previously relevant information and habitual responses, as measured using tasks such as Stroop color naming, negative priming, and response stopping (e.g., Hasher & Zacks, 1988; Hasher, Zacks, & May, 2000). Measures of interference proneness have accounted for significant proportions of age-related variance in cognitive performance (e.g., Salthouse & Meinz, 1995), although fewer efforts have been made to link intelligence tests to measures of inhibition in comparison to the processing speed literature. Nonetheless, strong theoretical and empirical links appear to exist among all three GCRs, which may be best conceptualized as basic mechanisms (speed, inhibition) nested within more complex cognitive functions (WM).

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