Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte
Print version ISSN 1517-8692
TEIXEIRA, Luís Augusto. Task-specific performance decline in aging. Rev Bras Med Esporte [online]. 2006, vol.12, n.6, pp. 351-355. ISSN 1517-8692. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-86922006000600010.
Decline of motor performance characteristically observed in the aging process has been proposed to be caused by a single factor: deterioration of the central information processing capacity. If so, motor performance in different tasks should decline in a similar way as an individual gets older. In order to test this hypothesis, motor performance of 19- to 73-years-old physical active individuals was studied in eight motor tasks: reaction time, movement time in aiming, handgrip strength, anticipatory timing, force control, repetitive tapping, sequential drawing and sequential fingers movements. The analysis indicated a diversity of performance profiles between tasks across ages, with motor decline at a moderate rate between 20 and 60 years for reaction time, larger performance decline in the transitions between 20 and 40 years in tasks requiring movement speed in simple movements or temporal accuracy, larger decline in the transition between 60 and 70 years for maximum manual strength and graphic skill, and stable performance across ages for manual force control. Therefore, these results are contradictory to the single factor hypothesis, offering support for the alternative hypothesis of task-specific decline of sensorimotor performance as a function of aging.
Keywords : Aging; Motor performance; Specificity.