Neurocognitive Ageing of Storage and Executive Processes

Document Type



Psychology (Scripps)

Publication Date



Cognitive Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Converging behavioural and neuropsychological evidence indicates that age-related changes in working memory contribute substantially to cognitive decline in older adults. Important questions remain about the relationship between working memory storage and executive components and how they are affected by the normal ageing process. In several studies using positron emission tomography (PET), we find age differences in the patterns of frontal activation during working memory tasks. We find that separable age differences can be linked to different cognitive operations underlying short-term information storage, and interference resolution. Some operations are associated with age-related increases in activation, with older adults displaying bilateral activations and recruiting prefrontal areas more than younger adults. Other operations are associated with age-related decreases in activation. We consider the implications of these results for understanding the working memory system and potential compensatory processes in the ageing brain.

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© 2001 Taylor and Francis

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