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Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica

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Abstract

MENEZES, Ana Carolina Zeferino  and  NASCIMENTO, Elizabeth do. Longitudinal study of intellectual abilities of elderly people assessed by WAIS-III. Psicol. Reflex. Crit. [online]. 2011, vol.24, n.3, pp. 419-428. ISSN 0102-7972.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-79722011000300002.

Data have indicated that aging, even if in a healthy process, lead to a normal decrease in cognitive performance. The current study aims at investigating the intellectual development of elderly people in different domains assessed by WAIS-III. Approaching from a longitudinal design, 47 participants were divided in two groups: young-old (until 74 years old) and oldest-old (over 75 years old). Results showed that young-old people presented gains in the abilities assessed. However, they were statistically significant just in two indexes. When it comes to verbal comprehension and language capacities, the gains were expected. On the other hand, Memory, Perceptual Organization, Processing Speed, Performance and Total IQ did not show the same outcome as most of the studies report. Results for the oldest-old ones were congruent with literature: vulnerable abilities (perceptual organization, memory and processing speed) demonstrated a decrease eight years after the first evaluation. To sum up, the results show that the elderly had not presented a decrease in the intellectual abilities assessed until the age of 74. However, from that age on some losses were observed. The only ability that displayed a remarkably higher decrease was processing speed. Data from longitudinal design are not sufficient to describe a trend in the general decrease of the elderly abilities. Some other variables, besides the ones examined in the current research, might be related to this standard. Further investigations are needed to examine them and to determine how much age explains the intellectual development of elderly people.

Keywords : Aging; Intelligence; Longitudinal Study; WAIS-III.

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