Investigating EEG theta and alpha oscillations as measures of value-directed strategic processing in cognitively normal younger and older adults

Lydia T. Nguyen, Francesco Marini, Shraddha A. Shende, Daniel A. Llano, Raksha A. Mudar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Value-directed strategic processing is an ability that appears to be relatively preserved with aging, but the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying strategic processing in older adults are not well understood. The current study examined age-related spectral power differences in EEG oscillations linked to processing of high-value versus low-value information in a value-directed strategic processing task in 24 younger adults (mean age: 22.4 ± 1.2 years) and 24 older adults (mean age: 63.2 ± 6.4 years). Both groups exhibited comparable strategic processing ability behaviorally with preferential recall of high- compared to low-value words. Both groups exhibited comparable theta band power with greater synchronization for low- compared to high-value words, but age-related differences in processing were noted in alpha band power. Older adults showed more prolonged alpha desynchronization for high- compared to low-value words relative to younger adults. This neurophysiological modulation in the alpha band in older adults might reflect a compensatory neural mechanism or increased effort linked to selective engagement of neural resources, allowing them to perform similarly to younger adults behaviorally on a value-directed strategic processing task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112702
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume391
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 5 2020

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Alpha
  • EEG
  • Strategic processing
  • Theta
  • selectivity/inhibition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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