The present study aimed at investigating age-related changes and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) related effects in simple arithmetic. To pursue this goal, MCI patients, healthy old adults and young adults performed three computerised tasks. The production (e.g., 3×4 = ?) and the verification task (3×4 12?) evaluated direct access to multiplication knowledge, the number-matching task (3×4 34?, ‘do 3×4 and 34 have the same digits?’) tested indirect access. In verification and number-matching, interference from related distractors (e.g., 3×4 followed by 16) relative to unrelated distractors (17) reflects access to stored fact representations as well as efficiency of inhibition processes. Results indicated that, compared to young adults, MCI and healthy old adults were slower in responding across tasks. In production and verification, analyses of individual latency regression slopes and intercepts suggested that these age effects were related to differences at peripheral processing stages (e.g., encoding) rather than at the central (arithmetic retrieval) stage. Differences between MCI and healthy elderly emerged only in the number-matching task. While in verification effects were comparable between groups, in number-matching MCI patients were more susceptible to interference from irrelevant information than healthy old participants. Overall, the present findings indicate that aging has a general effect on peripheral processing speed, but not on arithmetic memory retrieval. Parietal cortico-subcortical circuits mediating arithmetic fact retrieval (Dehaene, S., & Cohen, L. (1995). Towards an anatomical and functional model of number processing. Mathematical Cognition, 1, 83–120; Dehaene, S., & Cohen, L. (1997). Cerebral pathways for calculation: Double dissociation between rote verbal and quantitative knowledge of arithmetic. Cortex, 33, 219–250) thus seem to be preserved in normal aging and MCI. In contrast, MCI patients show enhanced interference in number-matching. This task-specific lack of inhibition may point to dysfunctional frontal cortico-subcortical networks in MCI.
|Titolo:||Effects of age and mild cognitive impairment on direct and indirect access to arithmetic knowledge|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2007|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|