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Executive Function, the Positivity Effect and Error-Related Negativity: A Novel Perspective on Cognitive Aging

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dc.contributor.advisor Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)
dc.contributor.advisor Thapar, Anjali
dc.contributor.author Vandenbark, Sonia L.
dc.date.accessioned 2013-07-12T13:45:27Z
dc.date.available 2013-07-12T13:45:27Z
dc.date.issued 2013
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10066/11227
dc.description.abstract The purpose of the present research was to investigate cognitive aging in the context of the Socioemotional Selectivity Theory (Carstensen, 1992), in order to determine the role of executive function in the manifestation of a positivity effect. Younger and older adults were assessed on measures of cognitive control, including the WAIS, Eriksen and Eriksen’s (1974) letter flanker task, and error-related negativity (ERN). A face flanker task was also administered, in which participants determined the emotion of a target face while ignoring flanking distracter faces (based on methods from Fenske et al., 2003). Finally, a recognition memory task was administered using neutral faces, to see if participants remembered faces differently based on the emotion that they displayed during the face flanker task. Contrary to our hypothesis and previous findings, younger and older adults did not differ in flanker interference nor emotional preference in face flanker and memory tasks. These findings do not support the presence of a positivity bias, though results from EEG methods and previous studies suggest that this may be due to unexpected limitations of the face flanker paradigm.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of Psychology
dc.language.iso eng
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/
dc.subject.lcsh Aging -- Psychological aspects
dc.subject.lcsh Positive psychology
dc.subject.lcsh Negativism -- Psychological aspects
dc.subject.lcsh Older people -- Psychology
dc.title Executive Function, the Positivity Effect and Error-Related Negativity: A Novel Perspective on Cognitive Aging
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Haverford users only


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http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/ Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/

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