Motor and cognitive changes in normal aging

Ahmed A. Moustafa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate/opinionResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


A commentary on
Effects of aging and involuntary capture of attention on event-related potentials associated with the processing of and the response to a target stimulus

by Cid-Fernandez, S., Lindin, M., and Diaz, F. (2014). Front. Hum. Neurosci. 8:745. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00745

In a recent study, Cid-Fernandez et al. (2014) tested attentional performance in 3 age groups: young (21–29 years old), middle-aged (51–64 years old), and older adults (65–84 years old). The task used in this study involved presenting both visual and auditory cues to the participants, and they were required to pay attention to the visual cues while ignoring the auditory cues (for task details, see Escera et al., 1998). Cid-Fernandez et al. (2014) found that there was an increase in distractibility and changes in motor selection in the middle-aged and older groups, compared to the young group. These findings were revealed using electroencephalography analyses which related different cognitive and motor processes to different event-related potential components. Impairment in sensory filtering (e.g., longer time to characterize stimuli in working memory), as revealed by differences in the N2b component among the groups are presumed to explain the deficits in motor processes (i.e., selection of motor responses). It is thus suggested that these cognitive working memory changes in aging lead to slowing down of motor response selection.

Other prior studies have investigated changes in motor changes in aging (Light, 1990). In one study, it was reported that abnormalities in motor processing are not related to cognitive processing (Kolev et al., 2006). For example, Falkenstein et al. (2006) also reported abnormalities in motor selection processes in healthy aging. However, unlike the Cid-Fernandez et al. (2014) study did not find a different in early stimulus processing. Further, Falkenstein et al. (2006) have only tested younger and older adults. The differences in findings could be related to different age groups in both studies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number331
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


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