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Special Issue "Aging and Cognition"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2015)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Lori E. James

Psychology Department, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, CO 80918, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: cognitive psychology; cognitive aging; memory; explicit memory; language production; word retrieval; tip-of-the-tongue states
Guest Editor
Dr. Meredith Shafto

Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 3EB, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: cognitive psychology; cognitive and neurocognitive aging; language production and comprehension; word retrieval; tip-of-the-tongue states; orthographic and semantic error monitoring

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There has been a dramatic rise in the worldwide proportion of the population comprised of older adults. This change in demographics suggests a need for increased understanding of how cognition changes across adulthood. This special issue is devoted to research addressing the impact of age on cognitive processes, as well as the effects of health, environment, lifestyle, and genetic factors on cognitive aging. Manuscripts presenting original research on either basic or applied topics (or a combination of these) as related to aging and cognition will be considered. For example, papers presenting studies of age-related changes in perception, working memory, or reading comprehension processes would be appropriate. Papers on research testing the effects of health conditions, exercise or diet modifications, or variables related to social settings on cognitive processing in older adulthood are also encouraged.

Dr. Lori E. James
Dr. Meredith Shafto
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • older adulthood
  • cognitive aging
  • genetic factors
  • environmental factors
  • health and cognition
  • lifestyle and cognition

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle The Effects of Age, Priming, and Working Memory on Decision-Making
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(1), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13010119
Received: 1 August 2015 / Revised: 25 December 2015 / Accepted: 4 January 2016 / Published: 11 January 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (580 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the current study, we examined the effects of priming and personality on risky decision-making while playing the Game of Dice Task (GDT). In the GDT, participants decide how risky they wish to be on each trial. In this particular study prior to
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In the current study, we examined the effects of priming and personality on risky decision-making while playing the Game of Dice Task (GDT). In the GDT, participants decide how risky they wish to be on each trial. In this particular study prior to playing the GDT, participants were randomly assigned to one of three priming conditions: Risk-Aversive, Risk-Seeking, or Control. In the Risk-Seeking condition, a fictional character benefitted from risky behavior while in the Risk-Aversive condition, a fictional character benefitted from exercising caution. Although not explicitly stated in the instructions, participants need to make “safe” rather than risky choices to optimize performance on the GDT. Participants were also given Daneman and Carpenter’s assessment of working memory task. Interestingly, although older adults self-reported being more cautious than younger adults on the Domain Specific Risk Attitude scale (DOSPERT), older adults made riskier decisions than younger adults on the GDT. However, after controlling for working memory, the age differences on the GDT became insignificant, indicating that working memory mediated the relation between age and risky decisions on the GDT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Cognition)
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Open AccessArticle Time Perspective and Emotion Regulation as Predictors of Age-Related Subjective Passage of Time
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(12), 16027-16042; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph121215034
Received: 29 July 2015 / Revised: 10 December 2015 / Accepted: 14 December 2015 / Published: 17 December 2015
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (236 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Hardly any empirical work exists concerning the relationship between the intra-individually stable time perspective relating to the past, present, and future and the subjective speed of time passing in everyday life. Moreover, studies consistently show that the subjective passage of time over the
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Hardly any empirical work exists concerning the relationship between the intra-individually stable time perspective relating to the past, present, and future and the subjective speed of time passing in everyday life. Moreover, studies consistently show that the subjective passage of time over the period of the last ten years speeds up as we get older. Modulating variables influencing this phenomenon are still unknown. To investigate these two unresolved issues, we conducted an online survey with n = 423 participants ranging in age between 17 and 81 assessing trait time perspective of the past, present, and future, and relating these subscales with a battery of measures pertaining to the subjective passage of time. Moreover, the subjective passage of time as an age-dependent variable was probed in relationship to emotion awareness, appraisal and regulation. Results show how present hedonism is linked with having fewer routines in life and a faster passage of the last week; the past negative perspective is related to time pressure, time expansion and more routine; a pronounced future perspective is related to a general faster passage of time. Importantly, increased emotion regulation and a balanced time perspective are related to a slower passage of the last ten years. These novel findings are discussed within models of time perception and the time perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Cognition)
Open AccessArticle Adult Lifespan Cognitive Variability in the Cross-Sectional Cam-CAN Cohort
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(12), 15516-15530; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph121215003
Received: 28 July 2015 / Revised: 27 November 2015 / Accepted: 1 December 2015 / Published: 7 December 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (285 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examines variability across the age span in cognitive performance in a cross-sectional, population-based, adult lifespan cohort from the Cambridge Centre for Ageing and Neuroscience (Cam-CAN) study (n = 2680). A key question we highlight is whether using measures that are
[...] Read more.
This study examines variability across the age span in cognitive performance in a cross-sectional, population-based, adult lifespan cohort from the Cambridge Centre for Ageing and Neuroscience (Cam-CAN) study (n = 2680). A key question we highlight is whether using measures that are designed to detect age-related cognitive pathology may not be sensitive to, or reflective of, individual variability among younger adults. We present three issues that contribute to the debate for and against age-related increases in variability. Firstly, the need to formally define measures of central tendency and measures of variability. Secondly, in addition to the commonly addressed location-confounding (adjusting for covariates) there may exist changes in measures of variability due to confounder sub-groups. Finally, that increases in spread may be a result of floor or ceiling effects; where the measure is not sensitive enough at all ages. From the Cam-CAN study, a large population-based dataset, we demonstrate the existence of variability-confounding for the immediate episodic memory task; and show that increasing variance with age in our general cognitive measures is driven by a ceiling effect in younger age groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Cognition)
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Open AccessArticle Proofreading in Young and Older Adults: The Effect of Error Category and Comprehension Difficulty
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(11), 14445-14460; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph121114445
Received: 30 June 2015 / Revised: 4 November 2015 / Accepted: 4 November 2015 / Published: 13 November 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (846 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Proofreading text relies on stored knowledge, language processing, and attentional resources. Age differentially affects these constituent abilities: while older adults maintain word knowledge and most aspects of language comprehension, language production and attention capacity are impaired with age. Research with young adults demonstrates
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Proofreading text relies on stored knowledge, language processing, and attentional resources. Age differentially affects these constituent abilities: while older adults maintain word knowledge and most aspects of language comprehension, language production and attention capacity are impaired with age. Research with young adults demonstrates that proofreading is more attentionally-demanding for contextual errors which require integration across multiple words compared to noncontextual errors which occur within a single word. Proofreading is also more attentionally-demanding for text which is more difficult to comprehend compared to easier text. Older adults may therefore be impaired at aspects of proofreading which require production, contextual errors, or more difficult text. The current study tested these possibilities using a naturalistic proofreading task. Twenty-four young and 24 older adults proofread noncontextual (spelling) and contextual (grammar or meaning) errors in passages that were easier or more difficult to comprehend. Older adults were preserved at proofreading spelling errors, but were impaired relative to young adults when proofreading grammar or meaning errors, especially for difficult passages. Additionally, older adults were relatively spared at detecting errors compared to correcting spelling errors, in keeping with previous research. Age differences were not attributable to individual differences in vocabulary knowledge or self-reported spelling ability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Cognition)
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Open AccessArticle Aging, Emotion, Attention, and Binding in the Taboo Stroop Task: Data and Theories
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(10), 12803-12833; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph121012803
Received: 27 April 2015 / Revised: 26 August 2015 / Accepted: 31 August 2015 / Published: 14 October 2015
PDF Full-text (851 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
How does aging impact relations between emotion, memory, and attention? To address this question, young and older adults named the font colors of taboo and neutral words, some of which recurred in the same font color or screen location throughout two color-naming experiments.
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How does aging impact relations between emotion, memory, and attention? To address this question, young and older adults named the font colors of taboo and neutral words, some of which recurred in the same font color or screen location throughout two color-naming experiments. The results indicated longer color-naming response times (RTs) for taboo than neutral base-words (taboo Stroop interference); better incidental recognition of colors and locations consistently associated with taboo versus neutral words (taboo context-memory enhancement); and greater speed-up in color-naming RTs with repetition of color-consistent than color-inconsistent taboo words, but no analogous speed-up with repetition of location-consistent or location-inconsistent taboo words (the consistency type by repetition interaction for taboo words). All three phenomena remained constant with aging, consistent with the transmission deficit hypothesis and binding theory, where familiar emotional words trigger age-invariant reactions for prioritizing the binding of contextual features to the source of emotion. Binding theory also accurately predicted the interaction between consistency type and repetition for taboo words. However, one or more aspects of these phenomena failed to support the inhibition deficit hypothesis, resource capacity theory, or socio-emotional selectivity theory. We conclude that binding theory warrants further test in a range of paradigms, and that relations between aging and emotion, memory, and attention may depend on whether the task and stimuli trigger fast-reaction, involuntary binding processes, as in the taboo Stroop paradigm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Cognition)
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Open AccessArticle Writing in a Digital World: Self-Correction While Typing in Younger and Older Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(10), 12723-12734; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph121012723
Received: 28 July 2015 / Revised: 29 September 2015 / Accepted: 30 September 2015 / Published: 13 October 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (670 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examined how younger and older adults approach simple and complex computerized writing tasks. Nineteen younger adults (age range 21–31, mean age 26.1) and 19 older adults (age range 65–83, mean age 72.1) participated in the study. Typing speed, quantitative measures of
[...] Read more.
This study examined how younger and older adults approach simple and complex computerized writing tasks. Nineteen younger adults (age range 21–31, mean age 26.1) and 19 older adults (age range 65–83, mean age 72.1) participated in the study. Typing speed, quantitative measures of outcome and process, and self-corrections were recorded. Younger adults spent a lower share of their time on actual typing, and demonstrated more prevalent use of delete keys than did older adults. Within the older group, there was no correlation between the total time spent on the entire task and the number of corrections, but increased typing speed was related to more errors. The results suggest that the approach to the task was different across age groups, either because of age or because of cohort effects. We discuss the interplay of speed and accuracy with regard to digital writing, and its implications for the design of human-computer interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Cognition)
Open AccessCommunication Healthy Aging Promotion through Neuroscientific Information-Based Strategies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(10), 12158-12170; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph121012158
Received: 15 July 2015 / Revised: 14 September 2015 / Accepted: 16 September 2015 / Published: 28 September 2015
PDF Full-text (687 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To ensure the well-being of a rapidly growing elderly population, it is fundamental to find strategies to foster healthy brain aging. With this intention, we designed a program of scientific-based lectures aimed at dissemination by established neuroscientists about brain function, brain plasticity and
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To ensure the well-being of a rapidly growing elderly population, it is fundamental to find strategies to foster healthy brain aging. With this intention, we designed a program of scientific-based lectures aimed at dissemination by established neuroscientists about brain function, brain plasticity and how lifestyle influences the brain. We also carried out a pilot study on the impact of the lectures on attendees. The objective was to provide information to elderly people in order to encourage them to identify unhealthy and healthy daily habits, and more importantly, to promote behavioral changes towards healthy brain aging. Here we report on our experience. In order to determine the impact of the lectures in the daily routine of the attendees, we asked them to fill out questionnaires. Preliminary results indicate that neuroscientific information-based strategies can be a useful method to have a positive impact on the lives of elderly, increase their awareness on how to improve brain function and promote positive lifestyle modifications. Furthermore, based on self-reported data, we also found that through this strategy it is possible to promote behavioral changes related to nutrition, sleep, and realization of physical and cognitively stimulating activities. Finally, based on the results obtained, the importance of promoting self-efficacy and the empowerment of the older populations is highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Cognition)
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Open AccessArticle Health and Quality of Life Perception in Older Adults: The Joint Role of Cognitive Efficiency and Functional Mobility
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(9), 11328-11344; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120911328
Received: 30 June 2015 / Revised: 25 August 2015 / Accepted: 2 September 2015 / Published: 10 September 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (721 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cognitive and mobility functions are involved in health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The present cross-sectional study aimed at investigating what facets of efficient cognition and functional mobility interactively contribute to mental and physical HRQoL. Fifty-six healthy older individuals (aged 65–75 years) were evaluated
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Cognitive and mobility functions are involved in health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The present cross-sectional study aimed at investigating what facets of efficient cognition and functional mobility interactively contribute to mental and physical HRQoL. Fifty-six healthy older individuals (aged 65–75 years) were evaluated for mental and physical HRQoL, core cognitive executive functions (inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility), and functional mobility (walking) under single and dual task conditions. Multiple regression analyses were run to verify which core executive functions predicted mental and physical HRQoL and whether the ability to perform complex (dual) walking tasks moderated such association. Inhibitory efficiency and the ability to perform physical-mental dual tasks interactively predicted mental HRQoL, whereas cognitive flexibility and the ability to perform physical dual tasks interactively predicted physical HRQoL. Different core executive functions seem relevant for mental and physical HRQoL. Executive function efficiency seems to translate into HRQoL perception when coupled with tangible experience of the ability to walk under dual task conditions that mirror everyday life demands. Implications of these results for supporting the perception of mental and physical quality of life at advanced age are discussed, suggesting the usefulness of multicomponent interventions and environments conducive to walking that jointly aid successful cognitive aging and functional mobility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Cognition)
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Open AccessArticle The Difference between Right and Wrong: Accuracy of Older and Younger Adults’ Story Recall
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(9), 10861-10885; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120910861
Received: 1 July 2015 / Revised: 19 August 2015 / Accepted: 24 August 2015 / Published: 2 September 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (755 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sharing stories is an important social activity in everyday life. This study used fine-grained content analysis to investigate the accuracy of recall of two central story elements: the gist and detail of socially-relevant stories. Younger (M age = 28.06) and older (
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Sharing stories is an important social activity in everyday life. This study used fine-grained content analysis to investigate the accuracy of recall of two central story elements: the gist and detail of socially-relevant stories. Younger (M age = 28.06) and older (M age = 75.03) American men and women (N = 63) recalled fictional stories that were coded for (i) accuracy of overall gist and specific gist categories and (ii) accuracy of overall detail and specific detail categories. Findings showed no age group differences in accuracy of overall gist or detail, but differences emerged for specific categories. Older adults more accurately recalled the gist of when the event occurred whereas younger adults more accurately recalled the gist of why the event occurred. These differences were related to episodic memory ability and education. For accuracy in recalling details, there were some age differences, but gender differences were more robust. Overall, women remembered details of these social stories more accurately than men, particularly time and perceptual details. Women were also more likely to accurately remember the gist of when the event occurred. The discussion focuses on how accurate recall of socially-relevant stories is not clearly age-dependent but is related to person characteristics such as gender and episodic memory ability/education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Cognition)
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Open AccessArticle When Distraction Holds Relevance: A Prospective Memory Benefit for Older Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(6), 6523-6541; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120606523
Received: 16 April 2015 / Revised: 1 June 2015 / Accepted: 3 June 2015 / Published: 9 June 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (969 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Evidence is accumulating to show that age-related increases in susceptibility to distracting information can benefit older more than young adults in several cognitive tasks. Here we focus on prospective memory (i.e., remembering to carry out future intentions) and examine the effect
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Evidence is accumulating to show that age-related increases in susceptibility to distracting information can benefit older more than young adults in several cognitive tasks. Here we focus on prospective memory (i.e., remembering to carry out future intentions) and examine the effect of presenting distracting information that is intention-related as a function of age. Young and older adults performed an ongoing 1-back working memory task to a rapid stream of pictures superimposed with to-be-ignored letter strings. Participants were additionally instructed to respond to target pictures (namely, animals) and, for half of the participants, some strings prior to the targets were intention-related words (i.e., animals). Results showed that presenting intention-related distracting information during the ongoing task was particularly advantageous for target detection in older compared to young adults. Moreover, a prospective memory benefit was observed even for older adults who showed no explicit memory for the target distracter words. We speculate that intention-related distracter information enhanced the accessibility of the prospective memory task and suggest that when distracting information holds relevance to intentions it can serve a compensatory role in prospective remembering in older adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Cognition)
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