Aging and inhibitory errors on a motor shift of set task

L.M. Potter, M.A. Grealy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Inhibitory functions are key mechanisms underlying age-related cognitive decline (Park and Gutchess in Cognitive aging: a primer, Psychology Press, Hove 2000), yet how these influence the control of action has not been fully investigated. Using 134 older (age 60-88) and 133 younger adults (age 20-59), we investigated in a motor analogy of the WCST the inhibition of a primed movement plan in favour of a novel one. Although 10% of older adults performed similarly to young adults, the majority failed to inhibit by the sixties, 10-20 years earlier than documented for the WCST (Lezak in Neurological Assessment, Oxford University Press, New York 1995; Haaland et al. in J Gerontol 33:345-346 1987). Around 40% failed to learn on the second attempt, and of these, the majority in their sixties to eighties failed to learn eventually. Implications are discussed for neuropsychological theory and everyday interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-66
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2005


  • shift of set
  • inhibition
  • grasp
  • healthy older adults
  • aging


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