Are age effects in positivity influenced by the valence of distractors?

Ziaei, Maryam, von Hippel, William, Henry, Julie D. and Becker, Stefanie I. (2015) Are age effects in positivity influenced by the valence of distractors?. PLoS One, 10 9: 1-15. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0137604

Author Ziaei, Maryam
von Hippel, William
Henry, Julie D.
Becker, Stefanie I.
Title Are age effects in positivity influenced by the valence of distractors?
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2015-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0137604
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 10
Issue 9
Start page 1
End page 15
Total pages 15
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract An age-related ‘positivity’ effect has been identified, in which older adults show an information-processing bias towards positive emotional items in attention and memory. In the present study, we examined this positivity bias by using a novel paradigm in which emotional and neutral distractors were presented along with emotionally valenced targets. Thirty-five older and 37 younger adults were asked during encoding to attend to emotional targets paired with distractors that were either neutral or opposite in valence to the target. Pupillary responses were recorded during initial encoding as well as a later incidental recognition task. Memory and pupillary responses for negative items were not affected by the valence of distractors, suggesting that positive distractors did not automatically attract older adults’ attention while they were encoding negative targets. Additionally, the pupil dilation to negative items mediated the relation between age and positivity in memory. Overall, memory and pupillary responses provide converging support for a cognitive control account of positivity effects in late adulthood and suggest a link between attentional processes and the memory positivity effect.
Keyword Older-adults
Emotion regulation
Social inappropriateness
Pupillary response
Cognitive control
Negative images
Visual fixation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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