Vol. 5 nº 1 - Jan/Feb/Mar de 2011
Original Article Páginas: 31 a 37

The interpretation of proverbs by elderly with high, medium and low educational level Abstract reasoning as an aspect of executive functions

Authors Thalita Bianchi de Oliveira Wachholz1; Mônica Sanches Yassuda2

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keywords: aging, executive functions, abstract reasoning, test of proverbs.

ABSTRACT:
It is now known that cognitive functions tend to decline with age. Executive functions (EF) are among the first abilities to decline with aging. A subcomponent of the EF is abstract reasoning. The Test of Proverbs is an instrument that can be used to evaluate the capacity of abstract reasoning. Objective: To examine the association of performance in interpretation of proverbs, with education and with episodic memory and EF tasks. Methods: A total of 67 individuals aged between 60 and 75 years were evaluated, and divided into three categories of education: 1-4 years, 5-8 years, and 9 or more years of schooling. The instruments used were a sociodemographic questionnaire (gender, age, marital status, education, income, previous occupation, current occupation and health perception), the Mini Mental State Examination, Brief Cognitive Screening Battery; Geriatric Depression Scale; Forward and Backward Digit Span (WAIS-III), and the Test of Proverbs. Results: A high impact of education was seen on the interpretation of proverbs, with lower performance among the elderly with less education. A significant association between performance on the Test of Proverbs and scores on the MMSE, GDS, and verbal fluency tests was found. There was a modest association with incidental memory. Conclusions: The capacity to interpret proverbs is strongly associated with education and with performance on other EF tasks.

 

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