, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 45-54
Date: 12 Aug 2006

Healthy mind in healthy body? A review of sensorimotor–cognitive interdependencies in old age

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Abstract

We review four broad lines of research on couplings between sensorimotor and cognitive aging, with an emphasis on methodological concerns. First, correlational cross-sectional and longitudinal data indicate increasing associations between sensorimotor and cognitive aspects of behavior with advancing age. Second, older adults show greater performance decrements than young adults when sensorimotor and cognitive tasks or task components need to be performed concurrently rather than in isolation. Third, aerobic fitness interventions produce positive transfer effects on cognition that are particularly pronounced for tasks with high demands on attention and executive control. Fourth, neuroscience findings from animal models and humans have identified aging-sensitive structural and functional circuitries that support cognitive functions and are enhanced by higher levels of sensorimotor functioning. We conclude that sensorimotor and cognitive aging are causally related and functionally interdependent and that age-associated increments in cognitive resource demands of sensorimotor functioning are malleable by experience.