Impact of Age on Cognitive Testing Practice Effects and Cardiorespiratory Responses




0000-0002-5422-489X (Shi, Xiangrong)
0000-0001-7388-9419 (Mallet, Robert T.)
0000-0003-3072-1987 (Ross, Sarah)

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Sage Publications


Objective: This study tested the hypothesis that healthy aging attenuates cognitive practice effects and, consequently, limits the familiarity-associated reductions in heart rate (HR) and breathing frequency (BF) responses during retesting. Methods: Twenty-one cognitively normal older and younger adults (65 +/- 2 vs. 26 +/- 1 years old) participated in the study. Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Digit-Span-Test (DST), Trail Making Test (TMT-B), and California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT-II) were administered twice at 3-week intervals, while HR and BF were monitored by electrocardiography and plethysmography, respectively. Results: Cognitive performances were not affected by the age factor, and the retest factor only affected CVLT-II. HR and BF increased only in the younger adults (p < .01) during cognitive tests; retesting attenuated these responses (retest factor p < .01). Long-delay free-recall in CVLT-II was unchanged in cognitively normal older versus younger adults. Healthy aging did not diminish short-term memory assessed by DST and CVLT-II short-delay or long-delay free-recalls. Conclusions: Only CVLT-II, but not MMSE, DST or TMT-B, demonstrated cognitive retesting practice effects in the younger and older adults. Cognitive testing at 3-week intervals in cognitively normal older and younger subjects revealed divergent cardiorespiratory responses to MMSE, DST, and TMT-B cognitive testing, particularly HR, which increased only in younger adults and to a lesser extent during retesting despite the absence of practice effects.



Reddy, P. M., Abdali, K., Ross, S. E., Davis, S., Mallet, R. T., & Shi, X. (2024). Impact of Age on Cognitive Testing Practice Effects and Cardiorespiratory Responses. Gerontology & geriatric medicine, 10, 23337214241234737.