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Major Issues in Cognitive Aging$
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Timothy Salthouse

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372151

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372151.001.0001

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Mediators and Moderators of Cognitive Aging

Mediators and Moderators of Cognitive Aging

(p.98) 4 Mediators and Moderators of Cognitive Aging
Major Issues in Cognitive Aging

Timothy A. Salthouse

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses two analytical procedures — mediation and moderation — which can be informative about potential causes of age-cognition relations. Both are based on the principle that although correlation does not imply causation, in many cases causation does imply correlation. Results from mediation and moderation analyses with cross-sectional data have been informative in suggesting that some hypothesized causes — such as amount of education, health status, sensory ability, amount of physical or cognitive exercise, and level of personality or mood — do not appear plausible as major determinants of the relations between age and cognitive functioning. Some variables, such as amount of education, health status, and sensory ability have been found to influence the age—cognition relations, but they do not appear to be primary causes because substantial relations between age and measures of cognitive functioning are still evident at every level of these variables. Longitudinal research investigating moderation or mediation of age—cognition relations has been very limited, and primarily restricted to the period of late adulthood.

Keywords:   cognitive aging, cognition, cognitive performance, mediation, moderation

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