Is Cognitive Decline Among Older Adults Reversible?
The book Developmental Influences on Adult Intelligence: The Seattle Longitudinal Study (2nd ed.), authored by K. Warner Schaie and reviewed by Sophie von Stumm, presents the latest installment of research findings on the nature and development of adult intelligence from the Seattle Longitudinal Study (SLS) initiated in 1956. In total, the SLS comprises seven cohorts sampling 4,857 participants with data from multiple assessment points. One of the questions Schaie has attempted to answer with his research is whether interventions can reverse cognitive decline due to the normal aging process (he reports decrements in intellectual functioning beginning around age 60). On this point, he argues that age-related cognitive decline is associated with "disuse" rather than "loss," and thus it could be reversed through educational interventions.
Do you agree with the premise that age-related cognitive decline is the result of disuse rather than loss? How widely shared is this view among researchers? Is there additional strong empirical evidence supporting the effectiveness of cognitive training programs for older adults?
By Sophie von Stumm
PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(33)