Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging
Healthy aging is associated with a number of cognitive and neural changes. In this chapter, we provide a neuroscientific perspective on age-related changes in processing that may be helpful for promoting better insights, advancing theory, and generating practical insights about consumer behavior and decision-making across the lifespan.
We begin with a review of the structural changes in both gray and white matter and the functional changes in neural activation, response, and connectivity. We further discuss how these age-related neural changes influence the functioning of specific systems and cognitive processes, with the most prominent changes seen in the sensory system, speed of processing, executive functioning, memory, and resting state activation.
Although healthy aging typically follows the pattern of changes described in this chapter, there are factors that might influence the rate of progression of these changes. Next, we discuss how factors such as early life experiences, individual differences, cognitive training, and physical activity influence the aging process. Lastly, we look at the possibility of better preservation of socioemotional abilities with age in light of its relationship with cognitive abilities and further probe the ways in which strategy differences and task demands intersect in socioemotional tasks.