Age, executive function, and social decision making: A dorsolateral prefrontal theory of cognitive aging

S. E. MacPherson, Louise Helen Phillips, S. Della Sala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

368 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Current neuropsychological models propose that some age-related cognitive changes are due to frontal-lobe deterioration. However, these models have not considered the possible subdivision of the frontal lobes into the dorsolateral and ventromedial regions. This study assessed the age effects on 3 tasks of executive function and working memory, tasks dependent on dorsolateral prefrontal dysfunction; and 3 tasks of emotion and social decision making, tasks dependent on ventromedial prefrontal dysfunction. Age-related differences in performance were found on all tasks dependent on dorsolateral prefrontal dysfunction. In contrast, age-related differences were not found on the majority of the tasks dependent on ventromedial prefrontal dysfunction. The results support a specific dorsolateral prefrontal theory of cognitive changes with age, rather than a global decline in frontal-lobe function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-609
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology and Aging
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002

Keywords

  • CARD SORTING TEST
  • FRONTAL-LOBE DAMAGE
  • CEREBRAL-BLOOD-FLOW
  • POSITRON-EMISSION-TOMOGRAPHY
  • ORDERED POINTING TASK
  • WORKING-MEMORY
  • DELAYED-RESPONSE
  • ORBITOFRONTAL CORTEX
  • FACIAL EXPRESSIONS
  • TEST-PERFORMANCE

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