The behavioral and neural correlates of cognitive control across the lifespan

Ashinoff, Brandon Kay (2017). The behavioral and neural correlates of cognitive control across the lifespan. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This dissertation will investigate which brain mechanisms are involved in proactive and reactive cognitive control across the lifespan, how the function of those brain mechanisms is affected by age, and how those functional changes translate to differences in behavior. Chapter 1 provides a comprehensive literature review covering proactive and reactive control in an ageing context, the contributions of the left IPS and left TPJ to suppression of salient distractors, and how these two topics may be interrelated. Chapter 2 examined the neural correlates of proactive inhibition in a young and aging cohort, with focus on the contribution of left IPS and/or left TPJ. It was found that while young participants only engaged proactive mechanisms (Left IPS) to engage the task, old participants engaged both proactive (Left IPS) and reactive (Left TPJ) mechanisms simultaneously. Further, age-related reductions in resting state functional connectivity suggested that both proactive and reactive inhibition mechanisms were impaired in aging populations. Chapter 3 assessed if there are detectable behavioral deficits during a reactive inhibition task in old age. Elderly participants showed an impaired ability to reactively use a salient distractor as an anti-cue. Chapter 4 used TMS to explicitly test the role of the left TPJ during reactive control. It was found that applying TMS to the left TPJ impaired participants’ ability to reactively engage a salient distractor as an anti-cue and, surprisingly, that applying TMS to the left IPS enhanced this ability. Chapter 5 tested if the allocation of attention to a distractor prior to inhibition is impaired in aging participants. The result revealed no age-related impairment to attentional control prior to inhibition. Chapter 6 summarizes the findings, discusses their broader implications, and proposes avenues for future research.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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