Abstract

Objective

Response time inconsistency (RTI) in cognitive performance predicts deleterious health outcomes in late-life; however, RTI estimates are often confounded by additional influences (e.g., individual differences in learning). Finger tapping is a basic sensorimotor measure largely independent of higher-order cognition that may circumvent such confounds of RTI estimates. We examined the within-person coupling of finger-tapping mean and RTI on working memory, and the moderation of these associations by cognitive status.

Method

A total of 262 older adults were recruited and classified as controls, cognitively-impaired-not-demented (CIND) unstable or CIND stable. Participants completed finger-tapping and working-memory tasks during multiple weekly assessments, repeated annually for 4 years.

Results

Within-person coupling estimates from multilevel models indicated that on occasions when RTI was greater, working-memory response latency was slower for the CIND-stable, but not for the CIND-unstable or control individuals.

Conclusions

The finger-tapping task shows potential for minimizing confounds on RTI estimates, and for yielding RTI estimates sensitive to central nervous system function and cognitive status.

You do not currently have access to this article.