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Measuring the Mind: Speed, control, and age$
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John Duncan, Louise Phillips, and Peter McLeod

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198566427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566427.001.0001

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An evaluation of the frontal lobe theory of cognitive aging

An evaluation of the frontal lobe theory of cognitive aging

Chapter:
(p.191) Chapter 8 An evaluation of the frontal lobe theory of cognitive aging
Source:
Measuring the Mind: Speed, control, and age
Author(s):

Louise H. Phillips

Julie D. Henry

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566427.003.0008

In the 1990s, it was argued that age-related changes in the frontal lobes predict cognitive changes in older adults. However, evidence for this hypothesis from behavioural and neuroimaging studies were equivocal at best. This chapter reviews the following four issues. First, there is little strong evidence to support the conclusion that executive control is differentially affected by age in comparison with other cognitive functions. Second, there are differences in the pattern of deficits seen following focal frontal lobe damage and those accompanying the ageing process. Third, the effects of age on social and emotional functioning have been largely ignored, despite considerable evidence linking such functions to the frontal lobes of the brain. Fourth, functional neuroimaging data do not support a straightforward version of the frontal-lobe theory of ageing.

Keywords:   neuroimaging data, frontal lobe, neuroanatomy, frontal-lobe damage, ageing process, emotional functioning

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