Mitchell et al., 2012. Cognitively Stimulating Activities: Effects on Cognition across Four Studies with up to 21 Years of Longitudinal Data

Mitchell, M., Cimino, C. R., Benitez, A., Brown, C. L., Gibbons, L. E., Kennison, R. F., Shirk, S. D., Atri, A., Robitaille, A., Lindwall, M., MacDonald, S. W. S., Zelinski, E., Willis, S. L., Schaie, K. W., Johansson, B., Dixon, R. A., Mungas, D. M., Hofer, S. M. & Piccinin, A. M. (2012). Cognitively stimulating activities: Effects on cognition across four studies with up to 21 years of longitudinal data. Journal of Aging Research. Article ID 461592, 12 pages, doi:10.1155/2012/461592.

Year: 
2012
Status: 
complete
Abstract: 

Engagement in cognitively stimulating activities has been considered to maintain or strengthen cognitive skills, thereby minimizing age-related cognitive decline. While the idea that there may be a modifiable behavior that could lower risk for cognitive decline is appealing and potentially empowering for older adults, research findings have not consistently supported the beneficial effects of engaging in cognitively stimulating tasks. Using observational studies of naturalistic cognitive activities, we report a series of mixed effects models that include baseline and change in cognitive activity predicting cognitive outcomes over up to 21 years in four longitudinal studies of aging. Consistent evidence was found for cross-sectional relationships between level of cognitive activity and cognitive test performance. Baseline activity at an earlier age did not, however, predict rate of decline later in life, thus not supporting the concept that engaging in cognitive activity at an earlier point in time increases one's ability to mitigate future age-related cognitive decline. In contrast, change in activity was associated with relative change in cognitive performance. Results therefore suggest that change in cognitive activity from one's previous level has at least a transitory association with cognitive performance measured at the same point in time.

Hofer & Alwin, 2008. The future of cognitive aging research: Interdisciplinary perspectives and integrative science.

Hofer, S. M. & Alwin, D. F. (2008). The future of cognitive aging research: Interdisciplinary perspectives and integrative science. In S. M. Hofer and D. F. Alwin (Eds.), Handbook on Cognitive Aging: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (pp. 662-672). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Year: 
2008
Status: 
complete
Abstract: 

We initiated this project with a set of concerns about the future of cognitive aging research and a determination to raise a number of critical questions about the direction the field of cognitive aging is going. We asked a wide range of questions that we and others believe the field should be asking—including questions about the theoretical perspectives that should be brought to bear on understanding processes of cognitive aging, the current state of our knowledge across the broad spectrum of human abilities and functional capacities, and the kinds of research strategies and measurement approaches that will be needed in future work.

Sliwinski et al,. 2010. Modeling retest and aging effects in a measurement burst design.

Sliwinski, M. J, Hoffman, L., & Hofer, S. M. (2010). Modeling retest and aging effects in a measurement burst design. In P. C. M. Molenaar & K. M. Newell (Eds.), Individual pathways of change: Statistical models for analyzing learning and development (pp. 37-50). Washington DC: American Psychological Association

Year: 
2010
Status: 
complete
Abstract: 

Researchers who study human development are interested in how psychological, physiological, and behavioral phenomena change over time in aging individuals. In fact, Baltes and Nesselroade (1979) identified the primary objective of longitudinal developmental research as the “direct identification of intraindividual change” (p. 23). However, this goal is complicated by the possibility that observable change in any given individual may reflect the joint influences of multiple processes. For example, observable decreases in memory performance over time (i.e., with increasing age) may reflect the complementary effects of declining vascular health and the progression of Alzheimer’s dementia (Sliwinski, Hofer, Hall, Buschke, & Lipton, 2003; Sliwinski, Lipton, Buschke, & Stewart, 1996). In contrast, observable change in cognitive performance may reflect a mixture of competing influences, such as aging-related declines that are partially or completely offset by performance gains attributable to repeated testing (i.e., retest or practice effects). The purpose of this chapter is to examine a novel approach to decompose age (decline) and retest (gains) effects in longitudinal data. Specifically, we argue that conventional longitudinal designs consisting of repeated and widely spaced single measurements are significantly limited in their ability to disentangle multiple time-dependent processes, such as practice gains and age-related declines in cognition. We present an alternative approach that relies on the longitudinal measurement burst design (Nesselroade, 1991) and a nonlinear measurement model that represents cognitive performance as a function of previous experience and latent potential (i.e., asymptotic performance).

Sparks et al., 2011 The impact of health on change in cognitive functioning

Year: 
2011
Status: 
complete
Presentation Citations: 

Sparks, C., Piccinin, A. M., Johansson, B., & Hofer, S.M. (November, 2011). The impact of health on change in cognitive functioning. In S. M. Hofer & D. Kuh (Chairs), The life course determinants of physical, cognitive, and emotional functioning. Symposium conducted at the 64th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Boston, MA.

Abstract: 

The objectives of this symposium were to evaluate aging-related cognitive change in the context of change in health, and to compare and synthesize patterns of results across multiple longitudinal studies of aging.

Hoffman et al., 2008. Individual Differences In Cognitive Decline

Year: 
2008
Status: 
complete
Presentation Citations: 

Hoffman, L., Hofer, S. M., Johansson, B. (2008, November). Individual differences in cognitive decline in persons with and without dementia. Poster presented at the annual Gerontological Society of America Conference, Baltimore, MD.

Sparks et al., 2010. Relationships between level, change, and variation in cognitive function and depressive symptoms within spousal dyads.

Year: 
2010
Status: 
complete
Presentation Citations: 

Sparks, C., Hofer, S. M., Piccinin, A. M., Alwin, D., & Wray, L., (2010, April). Relationships between level, change, and variation in cognitive function and depressive symptoms within spousal dyads. Paper presented at the annual Cognitive Aging Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Hofer et al., 2005. Change in cognitive functioning relating to age: Results from the octogenarian twin study of aging.

Year: 
2005
Status: 
complete
Presentation Citations: 

Hofer, S. M., Hoffman, L., Piccinin, A. M., & Johansson, B. (2005, November). Correlated and coupled cognitive change: Results from the octogenarian twin study of aging. Paper presented at the annual Gerontological Society of America Meeting, Orlando, FL.

Hoffman, L., Hofer, S. M., Piccinin, A. M., & Johansson, B. (2005, November). Differential change in cognitive functioning relating to age, dementia progression, and time‑to‑death: Results from the Octogenarian Twin Study of Aging. (2005, November). Paper presented at the annual Gerontological Society of America Meeting, Orlando, FL.

Fauth et al., 2006. Age-related changes in physical and cognitive functioning.

Year: 
2006
Status: 
complete
Presentation Citations: 

Fauth, E. B., Hoffman, L., Hofer, S. M., Piccinin, A. M., & Johansson, B. (2006, November). Age-related changes in physical and cognitive functioning. In D. F. Alwin & S. M. Hofer (Chairs), Antecedents and Consequences of Cognitive Aging. Paper symposium conducted at the annual Gerontological Society of America Conference, Dallas, TX.

Sliwinski et al., 2006. Decomposing aging and practice effects in cognitive performance.

Year: 
2006
Status: 
complete
Presentation Citations: 

Sliwinski, M. J., Stawski, R., & Hofer, S. M. (2006, April). Decomposing aging and practice effects in cognitive performance. Paper presented at the Cognitive Aging Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Hoffman et al., 2006. Examining short-term and long-term cognitive change in aging individuals

Year: 
2006
Status: 
complete
Presentation Citations: 

Hoffman, L., Hofer, S. M., Sliwinski, M. J., &, Piccinin, A. M. (2006, April). Examining short-term and long-term cognitive change in aging individuals. Paper presented at the Cognitive Aging Conference, Atlanta, GA.

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