Although many studies have examined inconsistency of cognitive performance, few have examined how inconsistency changes over time. 91 older adults (age 52 to 79) were tested weekly for 36 consecutive weeks on a series of multitrial memory speed (i.e., letter recognition) tasks. A number of multivariate techniques were used to examine how individuals' level of inconsistency changed across weeks and how this change was related to interindividual differences in age and intelligence. Results indicated that (a) inconsistency of performance is a construct separate from the underlying performance ability (i.e., memory speed); (b) inconsistency reduces exponentially with practice; (c) individuals with higher scores on tests of fluid general intelligence (G f) reached lower asymptotic levels of inconsistency compared to lower scorers; and (d) after controlling for the systematic effects of practice, variability in inconsistency from week-to- week was more pronounced for individuals with lower G f scores compared to individuals with higher scores.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Geriatrics and Gerontology