Age-Related Decline in Associative Learning in Healthy Chinese Adults
Wong, Caroline Kai Yun
Chen, Shen-Hsing Annabel
Date of Issue2013
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Paired associates learning (PAL) has been widely used in aging-related research, suggesting an age-related decline in associative learning. However, there are several cognitive processes (attention, spatial and recognition memory, strategy, and associative learning) involved in PAL. It is unclear which component contributes to the decline in PAL performance associated with age effects. The present study determines whether age effects on associative learning are independent of other cognitive processes involved in PAL. Using a validated computerized cognitive program (CANTAB), we examined cognitive performance of associative learning, spatial and recognition memory, attention and strategy use in 184 Singaporean Chinese adults aged from 21 to 80 years old. Linear regression revealed significant age-related decline in associative learning, spatial and recognition memory, and the level of strategy use. This age-related decline in associative learning remains even after adjusting for attention, spatial and recognition memory, and strategy use. These results show that age effects on associative learning are independent of other cognitive processes involved in PAL.
© 2013 Lee et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.