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Susan Kemper & Joan M. McDowd

In: Handbook of Cognitive Aging: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Chapter 11: Dimensions of Cognitive Aging: Executive Function and Verbal Fluency

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Dimensions of Cognitive Aging: Executive Function and Verbal Fluency
Dimensions of cognitive aging: Executive function and verbal fluency

Apersistent issue in cognitive aging is whether all aspects of cognition are equivalently affected by developmental processes or whether some are differentially spared from developmental decline (Zelinski & Lewis, 2003). This argument has been nowhere more contentious than in debates concerning the effects of aging and age-associated diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) on language use. Linguistic tasks are commonly used to assess cognitive status and neuropsychological impairments; they include tests of verbal fluency, vocabulary, and prose comprehension and recall. A related concern has been whether these tests measure discrete, autonomous linguistic abilities (Fodor, 1982; Waters & Caplan, 1996) or composite abilities that draw ...

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