Brain Responses to Emotional Images Related to Cognitive Ability in Older Adults.

  • Foster S
  • Davis H
  • Kisley M
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Older adults have been shown to exhibit a positivity effect in processing of emotional stimuli, seemingly focusing more on positive than negative information. Whether this reflects purposeful changes or an unintended side effect of declining cognitive abilities is unclear. For the present study, older adults displaying a wide range of cognitive abilities completed measures of attention, visual, and verbal memory; executive functioning and processing speed; as well as a socioemotional measure of time perspective. Regression analyses examined the ability of these variables to predict neural responsivity to select emotional stimuli as measured with the late positive potential (LPP), an event-related brain potential (ERP). Stronger cognitive functioning was associated with higher LPP amplitude in response to negative images (i.e., greater processing). This does not support a voluntary avoidance of negative information processing in older adults for this particular measure of attentional allocation. A model is proposed to reconcile this finding with the extant literature that has demonstrated positivity effects in measures of later, controlled attentional allocation. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Author-supplied keywords

  • AGING -- Psychological aspects
  • COGNITIVE ability
  • EMOTIONS (Psychology) in old age
  • EVOKED potentials (Electrophysiology)
  • aging
  • cognition
  • emotion
  • negativity bias
  • positivity effect

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  • Shannon M Foster

  • Hasker P Davis

  • Michael a Kisley

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