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Working Memory and Fluid Intelligence Are Differentially Related to Categories of Urban Fabric in Older Adults: Results from the Berlin Aging Study

Referierte Aufsätze Web of Science

Anna Mascherek, Sandra Düzel, Peter Eibich, , Christian Krekel, Jan Goebel, Jürgen Gallinat, Gert G. Wagner, Ulman Lindenberger, Simone Kühn

In: Journal of Environmental Psychology 93 (2024), 102224, 9 S.


Urbanization is Globally increasing at a rapid rate but its consequences for mental health, including cognitivefunctioning, are not well understood. In particular, little is known about the effects of different morphologicalfeatures associated with urban development, such as variations in the densities of urban fabric (i.e., degrees ofground sealing). We investigated associations of episodic memory, working memory, and fluid intelligence withdifferent densities of urban fabric, obtained from the European Urban Atlas, in a structural equation modelframework. We used data on 1053 healthy participants aged 61–88 years (mean age 70.33; SD = 3.75; 51%female) drawn from the Berlin Aging Study II. All participants were living within the city of Berlin, Germany. Ourdata include the precise geographical coordinates of every household, thereby permitting the calculation of theshare of each density type of urban fabric within a 1-km radius around the household. We found these types to besignificantly related to working memory and fluid intelligence. No significant association emerged for episodicmemory. All results were robust against the inclusion of a set of covariates known to be related to cognitiveperformance. We discuss the idea of enrichment effects due to morphological features of urban development asone possible mechanism.

Keywords: Urban fabric, Levels of urbanicity, Cognition, Berlin aging study II, Georeferencing data