Primary Aging, Secondary Aging, and Intelligence

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Abstract

This distinction between primary aging, representing innate maturational processes, and secondary aging, representing the effects of environment and disease (Busse, 1969), was used to develop a model for the assessment of factors that are associated with age-related individual differences in intelligence. Intelligence was measured by performance on a number of tests that measure cognitive abilities known to decline with age. In a hierarchical multiple regression analysis, primary aging and education but not health explained a significant portion of the variance in fluid intelligence. Chronological age had a residual effect over and above that of primary and secondary aging, indicating that there was remaining age-associated variance unaccounted for in the proposed model. The results suggest that the model of primary and secondary aging is a valid means of operationalizing chronological age.

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