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Effect of Normal Aging on Emotional Processing and Impact of Emotion on Memory: Psychophysiological and Cognitive Findings

Aupée, Anne-Marie LU (2006)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Åldrandet har traditionellt förknippats med en reduktion av emotionella reaktioner. Denna syn har nu börjat ifrågasättas, trots att de flesta tidigare studier visat en åldersrelaterad minskning av psykofysiologiska reaktioner på affektiva stimuli. Det första syftet med denna avhandling var att undersöka effekter av åldrande på subjektivt upplevande av och psykofysiologiska svar på känslomässiga bilder. Det andra syftet var att undersöka hur emotioner påverkar minnet, speciellt hur de på olika sätt påverkar dels förmågan att minnas medvetet (ansträngande och långsam minnesprocess) och dels förmågan att mera ytligt känna igen det man tidigare lärt sig (snabb och automatisk minnesprocess). För att... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Åldrandet har traditionellt förknippats med en reduktion av emotionella reaktioner. Denna syn har nu börjat ifrågasättas, trots att de flesta tidigare studier visat en åldersrelaterad minskning av psykofysiologiska reaktioner på affektiva stimuli. Det första syftet med denna avhandling var att undersöka effekter av åldrande på subjektivt upplevande av och psykofysiologiska svar på känslomässiga bilder. Det andra syftet var att undersöka hur emotioner påverkar minnet, speciellt hur de på olika sätt påverkar dels förmågan att minnas medvetet (ansträngande och långsam minnesprocess) och dels förmågan att mera ytligt känna igen det man tidigare lärt sig (snabb och automatisk minnesprocess). För att separat studera dessa två former av minnesåtergivning användes en speciell metod (Process Dissociation Procedure; PDP), som utvecklats av Jacoby (1991). Undersökningarna utfördes på en grupp medelålders (40-55 år) och en grupp äldre (56-78 år) friska individer.



I det första arbetet analyserades hur den fasiska hjärtfrekvensen förändras när personerna i de två åldersgrupperna exponeras för neutrala, positiva och negativa bilder. Resultaten visade att förändringarna av hjärtfrekvensen varierade beträffande tidsförlopp och typ av emotionell bild. Negativa bilder framkallade den största initiala minskningen av hjärtfrekvensen, och positiva bilder gav den största hjärtfrekvensökningen i det mellersta tidsintervallet. Den sistnämnda observationen gjordes dock bara beträffande de äldre personerna, som samtidigt skattade de positiva bilderna som mer behagliga.



I det andra arbetet rapporteras effekter av såväl åldrande som kön på hudkonduktansen och på ansiktsmusklernas aktivitet (korrugator- och zygomatic-musklerna) under exponering för affektiva bilder. Resultaten visade effekter av kön på de subjektiva rapporterna och de psykofysiologiska mätresultaten, vilka överensstämde med fynd från tidigare studier. Däremot fanns inga ålderseffekter, de psykofysiologiska svaren var de samma i de två åldersgrupperna. Hos de äldre personerna fanns inga könsskillnader rörande hudkonduktans och korrugator-aktivitet. Slutsatserna från de två studierna är att åldrandet inte är förknippat med en generell minskning av de emotionella reaktionerna och att skillnaderna mellan könen avtar vid högre ålder.



I det tredje arbetet studerades effekten av känslor på förmågan att minnas medvetet jämfört med förmågan att mera ytligt känna igen det man skall minnas. PDP-metoden användes, operationaliserad som en list-diskrimineringsuppgift. Resultaten visade att emotionell påverkan försämrade förmågan att minnas medvetet. Detta fynd överensstämmer med den trade-off effect, som tidigare nämnts i den emotionella litteraturen för att beskriva dissociationen mellan känslors förbättrande effekt på minnet av centrala stimuli samtidigt som förmågan att uppfatta irrelevanta eller perifera detaljer försämras. (Less)
Abstract
It has long been thought that aging is accompanied by an emotional flattening. Although a different view has started to emerge recently, studies investigating psychophysiological responses in reaction to affective stimuli so far have reported an age-related reduction of the affective response. One of the main goals of this thesis was to revisit this issue by examining subjective reports, phasic heart rate, skin conductance (SCR) and facial electromyography (EMG) in response to a set of neutral and emotional pictures in a group of middle-aged participants (40-55 yrs), as compared with a group of older participants (56-78 yrs). A second main goal was to examine the effect of emotion on memory recollection and familiarity, using a Process... (More)
It has long been thought that aging is accompanied by an emotional flattening. Although a different view has started to emerge recently, studies investigating psychophysiological responses in reaction to affective stimuli so far have reported an age-related reduction of the affective response. One of the main goals of this thesis was to revisit this issue by examining subjective reports, phasic heart rate, skin conductance (SCR) and facial electromyography (EMG) in response to a set of neutral and emotional pictures in a group of middle-aged participants (40-55 yrs), as compared with a group of older participants (56-78 yrs). A second main goal was to examine the effect of emotion on memory recollection and familiarity, using a Process Dissociation Procedure (PDP; Jacoby, 1991).



In paper I, heart rate changes and reports of emotional experiences when viewing pictures were analysed in middle-aged and older participants. Consistent with previous findings, the results showed a clear differentiation of the heart rate changes as a function of time and picture type. Specifically, aversive pictures gave rise to the steepest initial heart rate deceleration and positive pictures elicited the greatest mid-interval acceleration, the latter being observed only in older participants. Parallel to this finding, older persons rated the positive pictures as being more pleasant than the younger did. The results were in agreement with other recent findings showing that older adults, preferentially pay attention to, and better retrieve positive information as compared with younger.



Paper II reported the effects of age and gender on subjective reports, SCR and facial EMG. The effect of gender on subjective reports and psychophysiological measures was consistent with previous studies. No effect of age was found; the response magnitude for affective pictures was of similar size as that of younger adults. However, the gender differences on SCR and facial corrugator electromyography were absent in the group of older persons. The general conclusion that emerged from these two studies is that aging is not associated with a general decline of the emotional response. Nevertheless, the present results indicate that gender-related differences are attenuated in older individuals.



Paper III examined the effects of emotion on recollection and familiarity, using a PDP implemented by a list discrimination task. The results revealed a detrimental effect of emotion on recollection process but not on familiarity. The finding was interpreted in the light of the trade-off hypothesis, predicting a memory enhancement of emotion for central information and a compromised effect for irrelevant or background details. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Hugdahl, Kenneth, Institution för Biologisk och Medicinsk Psykologi, Bergens Universitet
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
neurofysiologi, neuropsykologi, Neurologi, neurophysiology, neuropsychology, Neurology, Pychophysiology, Memory, Emotion, Aging, Gender
pages
143 pages
publisher
Department of Psychology, Lund University
defense location
Segerfalkssalen, Wallenberg Neurocentrum
defense date
2006-01-20 10:00
ISBN
91-628-6699-0
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
b74eb0a5-848e-4e37-b8c4-f77f04d13065 (old id 546007)
date added to LUP
2007-09-10 13:44:16
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:10
@misc{b74eb0a5-848e-4e37-b8c4-f77f04d13065,
  abstract     = {It has long been thought that aging is accompanied by an emotional flattening. Although a different view has started to emerge recently, studies investigating psychophysiological responses in reaction to affective stimuli so far have reported an age-related reduction of the affective response. One of the main goals of this thesis was to revisit this issue by examining subjective reports, phasic heart rate, skin conductance (SCR) and facial electromyography (EMG) in response to a set of neutral and emotional pictures in a group of middle-aged participants (40-55 yrs), as compared with a group of older participants (56-78 yrs). A second main goal was to examine the effect of emotion on memory recollection and familiarity, using a Process Dissociation Procedure (PDP; Jacoby, 1991).<br/><br>
<br/><br>
In paper I, heart rate changes and reports of emotional experiences when viewing pictures were analysed in middle-aged and older participants. Consistent with previous findings, the results showed a clear differentiation of the heart rate changes as a function of time and picture type. Specifically, aversive pictures gave rise to the steepest initial heart rate deceleration and positive pictures elicited the greatest mid-interval acceleration, the latter being observed only in older participants. Parallel to this finding, older persons rated the positive pictures as being more pleasant than the younger did. The results were in agreement with other recent findings showing that older adults, preferentially pay attention to, and better retrieve positive information as compared with younger.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Paper II reported the effects of age and gender on subjective reports, SCR and facial EMG. The effect of gender on subjective reports and psychophysiological measures was consistent with previous studies. No effect of age was found; the response magnitude for affective pictures was of similar size as that of younger adults. However, the gender differences on SCR and facial corrugator electromyography were absent in the group of older persons. The general conclusion that emerged from these two studies is that aging is not associated with a general decline of the emotional response. Nevertheless, the present results indicate that gender-related differences are attenuated in older individuals.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Paper III examined the effects of emotion on recollection and familiarity, using a PDP implemented by a list discrimination task. The results revealed a detrimental effect of emotion on recollection process but not on familiarity. The finding was interpreted in the light of the trade-off hypothesis, predicting a memory enhancement of emotion for central information and a compromised effect for irrelevant or background details.},
  author       = {Aupée, Anne-Marie},
  isbn         = {91-628-6699-0},
  keyword      = {neurofysiologi,neuropsykologi,Neurologi,neurophysiology,neuropsychology,Neurology,Pychophysiology,Memory,Emotion,Aging,Gender},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {143},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0xaad6708)},
  title        = {Effect of Normal Aging on Emotional Processing and Impact of Emotion on Memory: Psychophysiological and Cognitive Findings},
  year         = {2006},
}