This study examined the impact of age-related differences in regional cerebral volumes and cognitive resources on acquisition of a cognitive skill. Volumes of brain regions were measured on magnetic resonance images of healthy adults (aged 22-80). At the early stage of learning to solve the Tower of Hanoi puzzle, speed and efficiency were associated with age, prefrontal cortex volume, and working memory. A similar pattern of brain-behavior associations was observed with perseveration measured on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. None of the examined structural brain variables were important at the later stages of skill acquisition. When hypertensive participants were excluded, the effect of prefrontal shrinkage on executive aspects of performance was no longer significant, but the effect of working memory remained.