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Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2019 Aug 7;14(6):623-631. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsz036.

Age-related decline in positive emotional reactivity and emotion regulation in a population-derived cohort.

Author information

1
Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, CB2 7EF, UK.
2
Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, London, WC1N 3AZ, UK.
3
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, CB21 5EF, UK.

Abstract

Human older age ushers in functional decline across the majority of cognitive domains. A notable exception seems to be affective processing, with older people reporting higher levels of emotional well-being. Here we evaluated age-related changes in emotional reactivity and regulation in a representative subsample (N = 104; age range: 23-88 years) of the population-derived Cambridge Centre for Ageing and Neuroscience cohort. Performance on a film-based emotion reactivity and regulation task in the magnetic resonance imaging scanner showed an age-related decline in positive reactivity, alongside a similar decline in the capacity to down-regulate negative affect. Decreased positivity with age was associated with reduced activation in the middle frontal gyrus. These findings, from the largest neuroimaging investigation to-date, provide no support for age-related increases in positive emotional reactivity.

KEYWORDS:

ageing; emotion regulation; middle frontal gyrus; positivity; socioemotional selectivity theory

PMID:
31119296
PMCID:
PMC6688446
DOI:
10.1093/scan/nsz036
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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