Developmental Change and Intraindividual Variability: Relating Cognitive Aging to Cognitive Plasticity, Cardiovascular Lability, and Emotional Diversity

Repeated assessments obtained over years can be used to measure individuals' developmental change, whereas repeated assessments obtained over a few weeks can be used to measure individuals' dynamic characteristics. Using data from a burst of measurement embedded in the Berlin Aging Study (BASE; Baltes & Mayer, 1999), we illustrate and examine how long-term changes in cognitive ability are related to short-term changes in cognitive performance, cardiovascular function, and emotional experience. Our findings suggest that “better” cognitive aging over approximately13 years was associated with greater cognitive plasticity, less cardiovascular lability, and less emotional diversity over approximately 2 weeks at age 90 years. The study highlights the potential benefits of multi-time scale longitudinal designs for the study of individual function and development. © 2011 American Psychological Association.