Multisubject Decomposition of Event-related Positivities in Cognitive Control: Tackling Age-related Changes in Reactive Control

Stefanie Enriquez-Geppert, Francisco Barceló

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Abstract

Age-related neurocognitive effects have been observed at different levels ranging from reduced amplitudes of even-related potentials and brain oscillations, to topography changes of brain activity. However, their association remains incompletely understood. We investigated time-frequency and time-course effects in functional networks underlying the P300 and their involvement in reactive control. Electroencephalographic (EEG) data of three different age groups (30 young: 18-26 years, 30 mid-aged: 49-58 years, 30 elderly: 65-75 years) was measured while they performed a cued colour/thickness switching task. Neural data was analysed concerning the targets. To consider restart, mixing, and switching processes, the targets´ position after a cue (first or third target) as well as their context in the single-task (distractor cue) or the mixed-task block (switch- or repeat cue) was analysed. P300 EEG data was decomposed by means of group-independent component and time-frequency analyses focusing on theta and beta oscillations. RTs generally slowed down with age (main effect group), and effects were specifically strong in targets after a switching cue (larger Cohens d). Peaking at around 300 ms, we detected five functionally independent networks reflecting the multicomponent process underlying task-switching. These networks differed in terms of their topography (parietal and frontal), their involvement in task processes (switch-specific, mixing-, restart-, and single-task processes) and in terms of frequency effects. All were affected by age, as indicated by amplitude changes of the target-P300 and power reductions most consistently shown in beta oscillations. Most extensive age-related changes were observed in one parietal network sensitive to mixing and restart processes. Changes included a topography shift, P300 and beta amplitudes, and were ongoing in the elderly group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-34
Number of pages19
JournalBrain Topography
Volume31
Issue number1
Early online date13-Aug-2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2018

Keywords

  • MIXING COST
  • IN-VITRO
  • INDEPENDENT COMPONENT ANALYSIS
  • LATENT-VARIABLE ANALYSIS
  • TASK-SWITCHING PARADIGM
  • FRONTAL-MIDLINE THETA
  • OLDER-ADULTS
  • EXECUTIVE FUNCTION
  • MEMORY TASK
  • INSTRUMENTAL ACTIVITIES

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