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Neuropsychology. 2000 Jan;14(1):102-11.

Effects of aging on efficiency of task switching in a variant of the trail making test.

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  • 1School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta 30332-0170, USA. tim.salthouse@psych.gatech.edu

Abstract

The Trail Making Test (TMT; R. M. Reitan, 1958, 1992) is extensively used in research in neuropsychology and in aging, in part because it has been postulated to reflect executive processes, such as planning and switching. However, neurocognitive and individual-difference-based analyses of this test are complicated because of different spatial arrangements of targets, the use of letters only in Version B, and potential order effects when Version A is administered prior to Version B. The present article examines a variant of a TMT (called the Connections Test) that attempts to remedy these deficiencies. A structural equation model suggested that there were no direct effects of age on either the nonalternating or alternating versions of the Connections Test (analogous to TMT Versions A and B, respectively); rather, all age-related effects were mediated through effects on perceptual speed. Moreover, although the nonalternating and alternating versions were strongly related to one another, only the latter had significant independent relations with measures of higher order cognition.

PMID:
10674802
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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