Cognitive Reserve as a Psychological and Psychophysiological Resource in Aging



Cognitive aging, just like biological aging, is a heterogeneous and highly individual process. As a result of this process, even people having physiological brain damage associated with Alzheimer disease (revealed through post-mortal studies) can demonstrate no impairment in cognitive functioning. Th e present paper is a review of modern studies of cognitive reserve phenomenon. In the paper main components of cognitive reserve proposed by Ya. Stern are refl ected, as well as factors and possible empirical approaches to investigation of cognitive reserve. Among the factors education, bilinguism, noradrenaline functioning and emotional processes are mentioned. Psychological and psychophysiological methods of cognitive reserve investigation are described. In particular, attention is paid to the model of cognitive reserve proposed by M. Nucci and the opportunities of cognitive reserve investigation using PET. As a conclusion, the possibility of application of this concept in Russian studies and possible specifi cs of such studies is discussed.

General Information

Keywords: cognitive reserve, aging, aging factors, cognitive functions, emotional processes

Journal rubric: Developmental Psychology

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Strizhitskaya O.Y. Cognitive Reserve as a Psychological and Psychophysiological Resource in Aging. Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Psychology, 2016. no. 2, pp. 79–87. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


Strizhitskaya O. [Modern problems of aging psychology]. Zdorovaia lichnost' [A healthy person]. Ed. by G. Nikiforov. St. Petersburg, Rech' Publ., 2013, pp. 336–355. (In Russian)

Katzman R., Terry R., DeTeresa R., Brown T., Davies P., Fuld P., Peck A. Clinical, pathological, and neurochemical changes in dementia: A subgroup with preserved mental status and numerous neocortical plaques. Annals of Neurology, 1988, vol. 23, pp. 138–144.

Stern Y. Cognitive reserve. Neuropsychologia, 2009, vol. 47, no. 10, pp. 2015–2028.

Stern Y. Cognitive reserve in ageing and Alzheimer’s disease. Lancet Neurol, 2012. November, vol. 11, no. 11, pp. 1006–1012.

Barulli D., Stern Y. Efficiency, capacity, compensation, maintenance, plasticity: emerging concepts in cognitive reserve. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2013, vol. 17, no. 10, pp. 502–509.

Katzman R. Education and the prevalence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Neurology, 1993, no. 43, pp. 13–20.

Nucci M., Mapelli D., Mondini S. The cognitive Reserve Questionnaire (CRIq): a new instrument for measuring the cognitive reserve. Aging clinical and experimental research, 2012, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 218–226.

Morbelli S., Nobili F. Cognitive reserve and clinical expression of Alzheimer’s disease: evidence and implications for brain PET imaging. American journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, 2014, vol. 4., no. 3, pp. 239–247.

Rybalko E.F. Vozrastnaia i differentsial'naia psikhologiia: Uchebnoe posobie [The developmental and diff erential psychology: Textbook]. St. Petersburg, Rech' Publ., 2004. 168 p. (In Russian)

Robertson I. A right hemisphere role in cognitive reserve. Neurobiology of Aging, 2014, vol. 35, no. 6, pp. 1375–1385.

Gold B. T. Lifelong bilingualism and neural reserve against Alzheimer’s disease: A review of findings and potential mechanisms. Behavioural Brain Research, 2015, vol. 281, pp. 9–15.

Alladi S., Bak T. H., Duggirala V., Surampudi B., Shailaja M., Shukla A. K., Chaudhuri J. R., Kaul S. Bilingualism delays age at onset of dementia, independent of education and immigration status. Neurology, 2013, vol. 81, pp. 1938–1944.

Bak T. H., Nissan J. J., Allerhand M. M., Deary I. J. Does bilingualism infl uence cognitive aging. Ann Neurol, 2014, vol. 75, pp. 959–963.

Abutalebi J., Canini M., Della Rosa P. A., Sheung L. P., Green D. W., Weekes B. S. The neuroprotective eff ects of bilingualism upon the inferior parietal lobule: A Structural Neuroimaging Study in Aging Chinese Bilinguals. J. Neurolinguis, 2014, vol. 33, pp. 3–13.

Urry H. L., Gross J. J. Emotion Regulation in Older Age. Current Directions In Psychological Science (Sage Publications Inc.), 2010, vol. 19, no. 6, pp. 352–357.

Charles S. T., Mather M., Carstensen L. L. Aging and emotional memory: Th e forgettable nature of negative images for older adults. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 2003, vol. 132, pp. 310–324.

Cognitive Reserve and Emotional Stimuli in Older Individuals: Level of Education Moderates the Age-Related Positivity Effect. Bruno D., Brown A., Kapucu A., Marmar C., Pomara N. Experimental Aging Research (serial online) , 2014, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 208–223.

Cacioppo J. T., Berntson G. G., Klein D. J., Poehlmann K. M. Psychophysiology of emotion across the life span. Annual review of gerontology and geriatrics. Eds. K. W. Schaie, M. P. Lawton. 1998, vol. 17, pp. 27–74.

Murray E. A. Th e amygdala, reward and emotion. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2007, no. 11, pp. 489–497.

Scheibe S., Carstensen L. L. Emotional Aging: Recent Findings and Future Trends. Journals Of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 2010, vol. 65B, no. 2, pp. 135–144.

Valenzuela M. J., Sach dev P., Wen W., Chen X., Brodaty H. Lifespan mental activity predicts diminished rate of hippocampal atrophy. PLoS One, 2008, vol. 3(7): e2598. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002598 (accessed 05.05.2015).

Landau S. M., Marks S. M., Mormino E. C., Rabinovici G. D., Oh H., O’Neil J. P., Wilson R. S., Jagust W. J. Association of Lifetime Cognitive Engagement and Low beta-Amyloid Deposition. Arch Neurol, 2012, vol. 69, no. 5, pp. 623–629.

Wilson R. S., Nag S., Boyle P. A., Hizel L. P., Yu L., Buchman A. S., Bennett D. A. Neural reserve, neuronal density in the locus ceruleus, and cognitive decline. Neurology, 2013, vol. 80, no. 13, pp. 1202–1208.

Leуn I., García-García J., Roldán-Tapia L. Estimating Cognitive Reserve in Healthy Adults Using the Cognitive Reserve Scale. PLoS One, 2014, vol. 9, no. 7: e102632. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102632 (accessed 05.05.2015).

Foubert-Samier A., Catheline G., Amieva H., Dilharreguy B., Helmer C., Allard M., Dartigues J. Education, occupation, leisure activities, and brain reserve: a population-based study. Neurobiology Of Aging, 2012, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 423. e15–423.e25.

Information About the Authors

Olga Y. Strizhitskaya, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Saint-Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



Total: 131
Previous month: 14
Current month: 5


Total: 73
Previous month: 7
Current month: 5