Objective: Past research suggests that motor sequencing becomes more heavily reliant on executive functioning (EF) with increasing age. This study examined whether this relationship holds for all, or only some, aspects of motor sequencing performance, including motor-planning (MP), motor-learning (ML), and motor-control speed and accuracy (MC-Speed; MC-Accuracy). Method: 57 young (18 to 49 years) and 45 older (60 to 86 years) neurologically healthy adults completed a computerized motor sequencing task (Push Turn Taptap task; PTT) designed to assess MP, ML, and MC Speed and Accuracy, and selected subtests from the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System as indices of EF and processing speed (PS). Results: For MP, EF accounted for variance beyond PS (R2Δ = .11, p < .001), but the EF by age interaction was not significant (p = .328). For ML and MC-Accuracy, the EF by age interaction was significant (p = .002, p = .001, respectively), such that both aspects of performance were significantly related to EF for older, but not younger, adults. MC-Speed was significantly related to PS (B = 26.07, p = .03), but EF did not account for additional variance and the EF by age interaction was not significant (p = .74, p = .63, respectively). Conclusion: This replicates and extends past work, demonstrating older adults exhibit increased reliance on EF for specific components of motor sequencing. The results suggest MP is reliant on EF across the lifespan, but MC and ML-Accuracy become reliant on EF only with increasing age. MC-speed is related only to PS, across the age-span. These results add to the growing evidence base supporting motor sequencing tasks as sensitive screening measures of executive abilities in older adults.
Increased Reliance on Executive Functioning during Motor Sequencing in Older Adults
Arch Clin Neuropsychol (2015) 30 (6): 572.
25 August 2015
M Niermeyer, E Franchow, Y Suchy; C-24
Increased Reliance on Executive Functioning during Motor Sequencing in Older Adults. Arch Clin Neuropsychol 2015; 30 (6): 572. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acv047.226
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