About this Research Topic
Most western societies have to deal with a dramatic increase of the older population. It is well documented that intellectual functioning, especially in fluid-like abilities, show a substantial decline in old age that in the worst case leads to the need to give up independent living and become dependent on others. Therefore, it will be rather important to better understand the mechanisms of this age-related decline, and how intellectual functioning can be preserved or even promoted in old age.
Cognitive control, as a hallmark of human cognition, refers to the ability to flexibly adapt to changing task demands and to optimally coordinate low-level processes to achieve internal and external goals. Cognitive control functioning has been closely related to intellectual functioning and we already know that not all kinds of cognitive control processes are equally sensitive to aging. Recent advances from cognitive neuroscience provide first insights into which neuronal networks are involved in cognitive control and which are altered in aging. We know little about which neuronal processes are impaired during preparing, responding, and evaluating action outcomes. In order to create optimal interventions for preserving cognitive control in old age, however, we need to know which neuronal networks need to be trained as well as what kind of interventions work best and why. How important are the genetics and individual differences in personality and environment factors such as lifestyle, music, bilingualism, and so on?
The focus of this Research Topic is on changes of cognitive control in aging. We seek empirical contributions using different methodologies including behavioral, computational, and neuroscience approaches. We also welcome theoretical contributions that provide detailed discussion of models or mechanisms that account for the relationship between aging and cognitive control. We aim to provide an overview of various behavioral and neuroscientific approaches to study cognitive control in aging in recent years, and how empirical findings have fueled our theoretical thinking about cognitive and neuronal models of cognitive control. Thereby we hope to trigger meaningful discussion and open up new frontiers for investigating cognitive control in aging.
Keywords: cognitive control, aging, neuroscientific and behavioral methods, control mechanisms, enhancement of cognitive control
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