Executive Functioning as a Potential Mediator of Age-Related Cognitive Decline in Normal Adults

Timothy A. Salthouse, Thomas M. Atkinson, Diane E. Berish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

729 Scopus citations


Critical requirements for the hypothesis that executive functioning is a potential mediator of age-related effects on cognitive functioning are that variables assumed to reflect executive functioning represent a distinct construct and that age-related effects on other types of cognitive functioning are reduced when measures of executive functioning are statistically controlled. These issues were investigated in a study involving 261 adults between 18 and 84 years of age. Although age-related effects on various cognitive abilities were substantially reduced after statistical control of the variance in measures hypothesized to represent executive functioning, there was only weak evidence for the existence of distinct constructs corresponding to executive functioning or to aspects of executive control concerned with inhibition, updating, or time sharing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)566-594
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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