Looking at the sunny side of life: age-related change in an event-related potential measure of the negativity bias.
ABSTRACT Studies of the negativity bias have demonstrated that negative information has a stronger influence than positive information in a wide range of cognitive domains. At odds with this literature is extensive work now documenting emotional and motivational shifts that result in a positivity effect in older adults. It remains unclear, however, whether this age-related positivity effect results from increases in processing of positive information or from decreases in processing of negative information. Also unknown is the specific time course of development from a negative bias to an apparently positive one. The present study was designed to investigate the negativity bias across the life span using an event-related potential measure of responding to emotionally valenced images. The results suggest that neural reactivity to negative images declines linearly with age, but responding to positive images is surprisingly age invariant across most of the adult life span.
SourceAvailable from: Jean Decety[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Empathic arousal is the first ontogenetic building block of empathy to appear during infancy and early childhood. As development progresses, empathic arousal becomes associated with an increasing ability to differentiate between self and other, which is a critical aspect of mature empathetic ability (Decety and Jackson, 2004). This allows for better regulation of contagious distress and understanding others mental states. In the current study, we recorded electroencephalographic event-related potentials and mu suppression induced by short visual animations that depicted painful situations in 57 typically developing children aged between 3 to 9 years as well as 15 young adults. Results indicate that the difference wave of an early automatic component (N200), indexing empathic arousal, showed an age-related decrease in amplitude. In contrast, the difference wave of late-positive potentials (LPP), associated with cognitive appraisal, showed an age-related gain. Only early LPP was detected in children, whereas both early and late LPP were observed in adults. Furthermore, as compared with adults, children showed stronger mu suppression when viewing both painful and non-painful stimuli. These findings provide neurophysiological support for the development of empathy during childhood, as indicated by a gradual decrease in emotional arousal and an increase in cognitive appraisal with age.Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience 09/2014; 10:160-169. DOI:10.1016/j.dcn.2014.08.012 · 3.71 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The late positive potential (LPP), which is reduced following the use of reappraisal, is a potential neurosignature for emotion regulation capacity. This sensitivity of the LPP to reappraisal is rarely studied in children. We tested whether, in 26 typically developing seven- to nine-year-olds, LPP amplitudes were reduced following reappraisal and whether this effect varied with age and anxiety. For the full sample, LPPs were not significantly reduced following reappraisal. As predicted, reductions in the LPP following reappraisal were greater for older children and those showing less anxiety. The utility of the LPP as a neurosignature for emotion regulatory capacity is discussed.Developmental Neuropsychology 10/2014; 39(7):497-515. DOI:10.1080/87565641.2014.959171 · 2.67 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Objectives. Successful emotion regulation partly depends on our capacity to modulate emotional responses through the use of cognitive strategies. Age may affect the strategies employed most often; thus, we examined younger and older adults' neural network connectivity when employing two different strategies: cognitive reappraisal and selective attention. Method. The current study used psychophysiological interaction analyses to examine functional connectivity with a region of anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) because it is a core part of an emotion regulation network showing relative structural preservation with age. Results. Functional connectivity between ACC and prefrontal cortex (PFC) was greater for reappraisal relative to selective attention and passive viewing conditions for both age groups. For younger adults, ACC was more strongly connected with lateral dorsolateral PFC, ventrolateral PFC, dorsomedial PFC, and posterior cingulate regions during reappraisal. For older adults, stronger connectivity during reappraisal was observed primarily in ventromedial PFC and orbitofrontal cortex. Discussion. Our results suggest that although young and older adults engage PFC networks during regulation, and particularly during reappraisal, the regions within these networks might differ. Additionally, these results clarify that, despite prior evidence for age-related declines in the structure and function of those regions, older adults are able to recruit ACC and PFC regions as part of coherent network during emotion regulation.The Journals of Gerontology Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 09/2014; 69(6). DOI:10.1093/geronb/gbu108 · 3.01 Impact Factor