Individual differences in aging and cognitive control modulate the neural indexes of context updating and maintenance during task switching




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Details zur Publikation

Autorenliste: Barceló F
Verlag: Elsevier
Jahr der Veröffentlichung: 2010
Bandnummer: 46
Heftnummer: 4
Erste Seite: 434
Letzte Seite: 450
Seitenumfang: 17
ISSN: 0010-9452
Sprachen: Englisch-Vereinigtes Königreich (EN-GB)


This study aimed to explore the combined
influence of age and cognitive control on the behavioural and
electrophysiological indicators of local, restart and mixing costs. Two
groups of middle-aged (49-60 y.o., N=40) and older (61-80 y.o., N=40)
adults were split according to their overall z-score in a composite of
six neuropsychological measures of executive function. All participants
performed a task-cueing version of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test
(WCST) adapted for measuring event-related potentials, whereby tonal
cues instructed to switch or repeat the task rule. A single-task
condition with identical sensory and motor response demands was used to
aid interpretation of behavioural and brain responses to cues and target
events. Working memory updating of stimulus-response mappings, as
putatively indexed by local switch costs and cue-locked P3 activity
(350-460 msec post-cue onset), was preserved in both older and low
control adults. In turn, low control adults showed larger restart costs
and enhanced cue-locked P2 amplitudes (190-250 msec) in the
task-switching condition only, suggesting lesser preparatory control in
the presence of interference. Low control adults showed comparatively
larger mixing costs and smaller cue-locked fronto-central slow
negativities (500-700 msec), suggesting an inefficient online
maintenance of task-set information over time. In contrast,
target-locked brain responses were mostly sensitive to age-related
effects, with older adults showing two well-known effects: (1) an
"anterior shift" in target P3 activity (350-460 msec), and (2) an
attenuation of fronto-central slow negativities in single-task and
task-switching conditions, respectively. The additive association found
between age and cognitive control for different behavioural indexes of
task-switch costs suggests a differential influence of these factors
upon two successive information processing stages: individual
differences in cognitive control mainly influenced the neural indexes of
preparatory task-set activation and maintenance, whereas age-related
effects influenced the neural indexes of target response selection and
task execution.

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