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Stress-related deficits of older adults' spatial working memory: An EEG investigation of occipital alpha and frontal-midline theta activity

Marshall, Amanda C and Cooper, Nicholas and Rosu, Livia and Kennett, Steffan (2018) 'Stress-related deficits of older adults' spatial working memory: An EEG investigation of occipital alpha and frontal-midline theta activity.' Neurobiology of Aging, 69. 239 - 248. ISSN 0197-4580

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Studies highlight cumulative life stress as a significant predictor of accelerated cognitive aging. This study paired electrophysiological with behavioral measures to explore how cumulative stress affects attentional and maintenance processes underpinning working memory retention. We collected electroencephalographic recordings from 60 individuals (30 older, 30 younger) reporting high or low levels of cumulative stress during the performance of a spatial Sternberg task. We measured mid-occipital alpha (8–12 Hz) and frontal-midline theta (4–6 Hz) as indicators of attentional and maintenance processes. Older, high-stress participants' behavioral performance lay significantly below than that of younger adults and low-stress older individuals. Impaired task performance coincided with reduced event-related synchronization in alpha and theta frequency ranges during memory maintenance. Electrophysiological findings suggest that older adults' reduced performance results from a stress-related impact on their ability to retain a stimulus in working memory and inhibit extraneous information from interfering with maintenance. Our results demonstrate the wide-ranging impact of cumulative stress on cognitive health and provide insight into the functional mechanisms disrupted by its influence.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Alpha, Cognitive aging, Cumulative stress, EEG, Theta
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2018 14:05
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2018 14:05

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