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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Cognitive and motivational selectivity in healthy aging

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Abstract Normal aging is associated with a reduction in the selectivity of cognitive processes such as attention and memory. This loss of selectivity is attributed to diminished inhibition and cognitive control mechanisms in older adults, which render them more susceptible to distraction and more likely to attend to and encode irrelevant information. However, motivational selectivity appears largely preserved in aging. For example, older adults selectively avoid high‐demand tasks, exhibit a positivity bias in attention and memory, and show better memory for high‐value compared to low‐value information. The aim of this review is to integrate these seemingly paradoxical findings of reduced and preserved selectivity in aging, discuss potential neural mechanisms, and propose questions for future research. This article is categorized under: Neuroscience > Cognition Psychology > Development and Aging
An overview of factors that modulate age‐related changes in cognitive and motivational selectivity, examples at the level of information‐processing/behavior, and potential neural mechanisms. Factors contributing to age‐related decreases in selectivity include a reduction in cognitive control, reduction in inhibition, and increases in arousal. Factors that contribute to preserved or increased motivational selectivity include emotion regulation, intrinsic motivation and reward‐based motivation. DA, dopamine; DMN, default‐mode network; FPCN, frontoparietal control network; NE, norepinephrine; PFC, prefrontal cortex
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Psychology > Development and Aging
Neuroscience > Cognition

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