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Title:Age-Related Changes in the Plasticity of Neural Regions That Control the Functional Field of View
Author(s):Scalf, Paige Elizabeth
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kramer, Arthur F.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Cognitive
Abstract:Our research was primarily interested in determining the locus of neural plasticity that allows training in the FFOV task to improve attentional function in older and younger adults. In chapter one, we discussed the neural systems that control the FFOV. We found that the same dual task conditions that produce a reduced FFOV also produce relatively weak representations of task relevant information. Reductions in the FFOV driven by increased cognitive demand, then, clearly reflect limitations in the ability to represent task relevant items. These effects are particularly pronounced for more eccentrically located stimuli. These data indicate that the reduction of the FFOV that occurs under conditions of high attentional demand reflect the greater attentional capacity required to process more eccentrically located information. In chapter two, we discussed age-related changes in the neural structures that respond to the increases in task demand that causes decreases in the FFOV. Older adults do not show weakened representation of task relevant information under dual task conditions. Instead, dual task conditions elicited activation increases in bilateral middle frontal gyrus, bilateral precentral gyrus and right inferior parietal lobule only in older adults. We interpret these data as evidence that older adults employ different neurocognitive strategies to respond to changes in task demand than do young adults. In chapter three, we discussed how training in a behavioral version of the FFOV task alters neural activation to increase the FFOV. We found that training in the FFOV task causes fundamentally different patterns of change in the neural activity in young and old adults. Although training in young adults tended to decrease activation in ventral occipital and frontal areas, training in older adults tended to increase activation in these regions. We interpret these data as suggesting that training improves the efficiency of this network in younger adults, but improves the instantiation of this network in older adults. Training specifically affected activation in the caudate nuclei of older adults during dual task conditions, suggesting age-related changes in the role played by this structure in the coordintation and control of the performance of multiple tasks.
Issue Date:2004
Description:182 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3160948
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2004

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