Openness as a buffer against cognitive decline: The Openness-Fluid-Crystallized-Intelligence (OFCI) model applied to late adulthood

Psychol Aging. 2015 Sep;30(3):573-88. doi: 10.1037/a0039493. Epub 2015 Jul 6.


Explaining cognitive decline in late adulthood is a major research area. Models using personality traits as possible influential variables are rare. This study tested assumptions based on an adapted version of the Openness-Fluid-Crystallized-Intelligence (OFCI) model. The OFCI model adapted to late adulthood predicts that openness is related to the decline in fluid reasoning (Gf) through environmental enrichment. Gf should be related to the development of comprehension knowledge (Gc; investment theory). It was also assumed that Gf predicts changes in openness as suggested by the environmental success hypothesis. Finally, the OFCI model proposes that openness has an indirect influence on the decline in Gc through its effect on Gf (mediation hypothesis). Using data from the Berlin Aging Study (N = 516, 70-103 years at T1), these predictions were tested using latent change score and latent growth curve models with indicators of each trait. The current findings and prior research support environmental enrichment and success, investment theory, and partially the mediation hypotheses. Based on a summary of all findings, the OFCI model for late adulthood is suggested.

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Berlin
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence*
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Thinking / physiology*