Cognitive reserve relates to executive functioning in the old–old

Joukje M. Oosterman*, Michelle G. Jansen, Erik J.A. Scherder, Roy P.C. Kessels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Cognitive reserve (CR) is known to reduce or even protect against the negative effects of aging on cognitive functioning. Nonetheless, little is known about how CR influences the relationship between different cognitive abilities and age in the old–old. The goal of the present study was, therefore, to test the hypothesis whether, in the old–old, CR still modifies the relationship between age and cognitive functioning. Eighty-three adults (aged 71–94) without mild cognitive impairment or dementia residing in residential care facilities completed a detailed neuropsychological test battery. CR was estimated using a combination of educational attainment and an estimation of verbal intelligence. Moderation analyses revealed a significant effect for fluency and a trend for flexibility, showing that the negative relationship between age and cognitive performance is reduced as the level of CR increases. These results demonstrate that CR still influences the relationship between age and executive functions in adults of advanced age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2587-2592
Number of pages6
JournalAging Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number9
Early online date6 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).


  • Aging
  • Cognitive reserve
  • Episodic memory
  • Executive functions
  • Information processing speed


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