Psychometric studies conducted since the 1920s indicate that intellectual aging is not a unitary process. Culture-based intelligence is maintained into the 70s, whereas biology-based intellectual abilities begin declining in the 40s. There is growing interest in understanding cognitive and neurobiological mechanisms that may underlie age-related declines in Gf abilities. At the information-processing level, factors such as WM, processing speed, and inhibition mechanisms are correlated with age differences in intelligence. Furthermore, there is emerging consensus that the pre-frontal cortex and its supporting neuromodulation mechanisms underlie such cognitive functions. At present, the cross-level link from brain aging to intellectual aging continues to be refined.


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Schaie, K. W. (1996). Intellectual development in adulthood: The Seattle Longitudinal Study. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Schneider, E. L., Rowe, J. W., Johnson, T. E., Holbrook, N. J., & Morrison, J. H. (Eds.). (1996). Handbook of the biology of aging (4th ed.). Academic Press.

Shu-Chen Li

Max Planck Institute for Human Development Karen Z. H. Li

Concordia University, Montreal, Canada See also: Aging and Intelligence; Geriatric Psychology

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