Der et al., 2010. Age-related changes in memory and fluid reasoning in a sample of healthy old people.


Participants in the Healthy Old People in Edinburgh (HOPE) study (N = 398) were assessed on Raven's Progressive Matrices and Logical Memory on up to three occasions. Covariates included education, social class, disease and medication status, blood pressure and study outcome. Raven's score declined linearly with age, whereas decline in Logical Memory was accelerating. There was significant variation in individuals' rates of decline for Ravens but not Logical Memory. Slope–intercept covariances were not significant. Those who later developed dementia already exhibited lower scores, more so for Logical Memory than Raven's. Death and study attrition were related to performance, again greater for Logical Memory. Conclusions: The HOPE approach of progressive screening is a feasible and practical method for studying healthy cognitive ageing. As predicted for an initially healthy sample, rates of decline were relatively homogeneous. The hypothesis of differential decline was not supported, nor was a strict interpretation of the hypothesis that cognitive ageing is entirely pathology driven.