Information-Theoretic Quantification of Dedifferentiation in the Aging of Motor and Executive Functions

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A central account of cognitive aging is the dedifferentiation among functions due to reduced processing resources. Previous reports contrasting trends of aging across cognitive domains mostly relied on transformed scores of heterogeneous measures. By quantifying the computational load with information entropy in tasks probing motor and executive functions, this study uncovered interaction among age, task, and load as well as associations among the parametric estimates of these factors at the individual level. Specifically, the linear functions between computational load and performance time differed significantly between motor and executive tasks in the young group but not in the elderly group and showed stronger associations for parameters within and between tasks in the elderly group than in the young group. These findings are in line with the dedifferentiation hypothesis of cognitive aging and provide a more principled approach in contrasting trends of cognitive aging across different domains from the information-theoretic perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Article number634089
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
StatePublished - 20 Aug 2021


  • BIT
  • Fitts' law
  • dedifferentiation
  • generalized linear mixed models
  • majority function


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