Poster C33, Sunday, March 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Incentive effects on cognitive control in younger and older adults: Behavioral and ERP evidence
Farrah Kudus1, Ryan S. Williams2, Benjamin J. Dyson3, Julia Spaniol1; 1Ryerson University, 2University of Toronto, 3University of Sussex
Motivational incentives exert both transient and sustained effects on cognitive control. While incentive processing is relatively intact in healthy aging, cognitive control shows age-related decline. How gains and losses affect cognitive control mechanisms in older adults is still unclear. Here we examined this issue using a flanker task with financial incentives. Participants included 24 healthy younger adults (mean age: 20.5 years) and 24 healthy older adults (mean age: 73.63 years). Participants made speeded responses to the direction of a central arrow that was flanked by same-direction (congruent) or different-direction (incongruent) arrows. A visual cue at the beginning of the trial indicated incentive availability. Incentive blocks contained a mix of incentive (gain or loss) and non-incentive trials, whereas non-incentive blocks contained non-incentive trials only. On incentive trials, participants gained/avoided losing $0.10 for fast and accurate responses. Incentives promoted speed at the expense of accuracy, particularly for younger adults. Examination of cue-locked, target-locked, and feedback-locked ERP components revealed age-related similarities and differences. Enhancement of motor preparation following incentive cues (cue-locked CNV amplitude) was similar for younger and older adults, but the attentional response to the target (P3 amplitude) was sensitive to incentives in younger adults only. Performance monitoring (ERP amplitude difference in response to negative vs. positive feedback) was limited to the loss domain in younger adults. In older adults, performance monitoring was reduced and seen across gain and loss domains. Overall, these findings are consistent with age-related decline of incentive-based modulation of cognitive control, despite preserved anticipatory responses to incentive signals.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Development & aging