ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

›› 2010, Vol. 18 ›› Issue (9): 1471-1480.

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Cognitive and Neural Plasticity of Executive Functions
among Older Adults

DU Xin;CHEN Tian-Yong   

  1. (1 Center on Aging Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China)
    (2 Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100101, China)
    (3 Graduate School, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China)
  • Received:2010-01-03 Revised:1900-01-01 Online:2010-09-15 Published:2010-09-15
  • Contact: CHEN Tian-Yong

Abstract: Executive decline hypothesis suggests that the unique loss of executive function is the main cause of cognitive aging. However, a growing body of literature had demonstrated a remarkable plasticity in executive functions and its related brain areas (mainly prefrontal cortex) among older adults. Age-related decline in executive function could be reduced through cognitive training, and the activation, structure (volume) and neurotransmitters of related brain areas could be altered. Some studies also suggested the benefits of executive function training could be transferred to other cognitive functions. All these findings have great significance for the deeper exploration of cognitive aging theories and the practical applications of cognitive intervention.

Key words: executive function, older adults, cognitive plasticity, neural plasticity, transfer effects