Lucia Gava, Chiara Meneghetti, Erika Borella, Rossana De Beni

Spatial abilities: age-related differences from young adults to the old-old

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Adult Life-span; Spatial Tasks; Spatial Questionnaires.

This study aimed to examine age-related differences in objective and subjective measures of spatial abilities across the adult life-span. The sample comprised 614 participants (304 women and 310 men) from 20 to 91 years old, divided into seven 10-year age brackets. Participants were administered a series of objective spatial tasks (measuring spatial visualization, mental rotation and perspective taking) and subjective tasks (spatial questionnaires). The results showed age-related differences in most of the tasks. Although the age-related changes varied depending on the tasks and questionnaires examined, a clear decline was observed in all spatial abilities in advanced old age (from 79 years old onwards). Gender-related differences also emerged in most of the measures considered, with males performing better than females. Our results are discussed in relation to other studies on aging and spatial cognition.

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