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ERIC Number: EJ945366
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Verbal Knowledge, Working Memory, and Processing Speed as Predictors of Verbal Learning in Older Adults
Rast, Philippe
Developmental Psychology, v47 n5 p1490-1498 Sep 2011
The present study aimed at modeling individual differences in a verbal learning task by means of a latent structured growth curve approach based on an exponential function that yielded 3 parameters: initial recall, learning rate, and asymptotic performance. Three cognitive variables--speed of information processing, verbal knowledge, working memory--and the participant's age were included in the model in order to explain individual differences in the learning parameters. The data come from the second wave of the Zurich Longitudinal Study on Cognitive Aging (D. Zimprich, Martin, et al., 2008) comprising 334 participants ranging in age from 66 to 81 years (M = 74.43, SD = 4.41). Among the logistic, the Gompertz, and the hyperbolic function, the exponential function described the data best. Reliable individual differences were found in all 3 learning parameters. The cognitive predictor variables affected the verbal learning parameters differentially: All 3 predictors affected positively initial recall, the asymptotic performance increased with better working memory and faster processing speed, and the learning rate was positively associated with verbal knowledge only. Age did not affect the learning parameters but correlated negatively with working memory and processing speed. The finding of large and reliable individual differences in learning is seen as evidence that the potential for positive change, or plasticity in adulthood is maintained and that it is worthwhile to enhance the determinants of learning or learning itself. (Contains 2 footnotes, 3 tables, and 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Switzerland