Research Paper Advance Articles
Modulation of attention networks serving reorientation in healthy aging
- 1 Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198, USA
- 2 Center for Magnetoencephalography, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198, USA
- 3 Cognitive Neuroscience of Development and Aging (CoNDA) Center, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198, USA
- 4 Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE 68198, USA
Received: March 19, 2020 Accepted: June 4, 2020 Published: June 24, 2020https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.103515
How to Cite
Copyright © 2020 Arif et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Orienting attention to behaviorally relevant stimuli is essential for everyday functioning and mainly involves activity in the dorsal and ventral frontoparietal networks. Many studies have shown declines in the speed and accuracy of attentional reallocation with advancing age, but the underlying neural dynamics remain less understood. We investigated this age-related decline using magnetoencephalography (MEG) and a Posner task in 94 healthy adults (22-72 years old). MEG data were examined in the time-frequency domain, and significant oscillatory responses were imaged using a beamformer. We found that participants responded slower when attention reallocation was needed (i.e., the validity effect) and that this effect was positively correlated with age. We also found age-related validity effects on alpha activity in the left parietal and beta in the left frontal-eye fields from 350-950 ms. Overall, stronger alpha and beta responses were observed in younger participants during attention reallocation trials, but this pattern was reversed in the older participants. Interestingly, this alpha validity effect fully mediated the relationship between age and behavioral performance. In conclusion, older adults were slower in reorienting attention and exhibited age-related alterations in alpha and beta responses within parietal and frontal regions, which may reflect increased task demands depleting their compensatory resources.