In this cross-sectional study, the mediating role of inhibition relative to speed in age-related working memory decline on different tasks was investigated. It was hypothesized that the role of inhibition is marginal or absent in a relatively "passive" or simple working memory task, but present in a relatively "active" or complex task in which the processing, rather than the storage capacity of working memory, is addressed. This hypothesis was tested with a structural equation model that was fitted on a subsample (N = 213) of the Maastricht Aging Study (MAAS). The first trial of the Verbal Learning Test (VLT) served as the passive test and the Self-Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task (SPASAT) as the active test. Results showed that the role of inhibition was absent in predicting VLT performance, whereas it was comparable to the role of speed in predicting SPASAT performance. These findings suggest a relative, task-dependent role of inhibition in explaining age-related memory decline.
van Gerven, P. W. M., van Boxtel, M. P. J., Meijer, W. A., Willems, D., & Jolles, J. (2007). On the relative role of inhibition in age-related working memory decline. Aging Neuropsychology and Cognition, 14, 95-107. https://doi.org/10.1080/138255891007038