Impact Factor 2.129 | CiteScore 2.40
More on impact ›

Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01906

Preserved proactive control in ageing: a Stroop study with emotional faces vs. words

  • 1Birkbeck, University of London, United Kingdom

Previous studies regarding age-related changes in proactive control were inconclusive and the effects of emotion on proactive control in ageing are yet to be determined. Here, we assessed the role of task-relevant emotion on proactive control in younger and older adults. Proactive control was manipulated by varying the proportion of conflict trials in an emotional Stroop task. In Experiment 1, emotional target faces with congruent, incongruent or non-word distractor labels were used to assess proactive control in younger and older adults. To investigate whether the effects of emotion are consistent across different stimulus types, emotional target words with congruent, incongruent or obscured distractor faces were used in Experiment 2. Data from this study showed that older adults successfully deployed proactive control when needed and that task-relevant emotion affected cognitive control similarly in both age groups. It was also found that the effects of emotion on cognitive performance were qualitatively different for faces and words, with facilitating effects being observed for happy faces and for negative words. Overall, these results suggest that the effects of emotion and age on proactive control depend on the task at hand and the chosen stimulus set.

Keywords: proactive control, cognitive control, Ageing, task-relevant emotion, Stroop task

Received: 29 Apr 2019; Accepted: 02 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Berger, Richards and Davelaar. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Natalie Berger, Birkbeck, University of London, London, United Kingdom, n.berger@bbk.ac.uk