Age-based structural dynamics between perceptual speed and knowledge in the Berlin Aging Study: direct evidence for ability dedifferentiation in old age

Psychol Aging. 2003 Dec;18(4):696-713. doi: 10.1037/0882-7974.18.4.696.


According to 2-component theories of intelligence, negative cross-sectional age gradients in mechanic (broad Gf) and pragmatic (broad Gc) cognitive components reflect the increasing constraining of the former in the expression and integrity of the latter component. The authors examined this widely held but untested assumption by applying a recently proposed dynamic structural modeling technique, the bivariate dual change score model, to longitudinal data from the Berlin Aging Study (N = 516, age range = 70-103 years). Mechanics and pragmatics were indexed by perceptual speed and knowledge, respectively. As hypothesized, results indicated that changes in knowledge are dominated by perceptual speed and offered strong support for the notion of "mechanization" of pragmatic abilities in old and very old age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence*
  • Knowledge
  • Male
  • Mental Processes*
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Perception