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Title: Psychobiology of emotion-cognition interactions in ageing
Author: Mantantzis, Konstantinos
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 422X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2018
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Despite the cognitive and physiological decrements observed in old age, older adults are emotionally resilient, even showing improved emotion regulation capacity compared with their young counterparts. This age-related improvement in emotion regulation translates into a preference for positive and avoidance of negative information in cognition, known as the positivity effect (PE). The thesis focuses on investigating the physiological underpinnings of emotion-cognition interactions in ageing and, specifically, the role of glucose availability and overall Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) functionality. Experiments 1a and 1b found that although the age-related PE disappeared under high cognitive load, glucose allowed older adults to retain their positivity preference. Whereas young adults used the extra glucose resources to improve their overall performance when cognitive load was high, older adults preferentially allocated them to the encoding/recall of positive over negative material. Experiment 2 showed that glucose availability can increase both young and older adults' ability to engage in demanding cognitive tasks. However, whereas young adults did not experience any additional cognitive or affective facilitation, glucose improved cognitive performance and increased positive affect in older adults while mitigating their subjective effort perceptions. Experiment 3 found that ANS functionality is related to the magnitude of older adults' PE. Specifically, higher ANS capacity was associated with stronger negativity avoidance in older, but not young, adults. Finally, a meta-analysis revealed that carbohydrate (CHO) administration does not lead to any improvements in mood. Instead, CHO ingestion was associated with higher fatigue and decreased alertness within the first hour post-CHO consumption. In summary, the thesis presents important evidence of an association between aspects of physiological functioning and emotion-cognition interactions in ageing, and provides answers to heavily debated topics such as the CHO-mood relationship. Uncovering the physiological profile of emotion-cognition interactions could allow researchers and clinicians to create interventions to improve well-being in older age.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology