Successful aging appears to relate in part to a variety of behaviors that require processing of motivated, goal- directed, and personally relevant (i.e., salient) information. For the most part, current research on salience has focused on the cognitive factors that allow attention to relevant information in the external environment. In our research, we focus on age-related changes in "affective salience" and their implications for social functioning. In our original grant, we examined age-related changes in the processing of novel and affectively potent stimuli, with a focus on the human amygdala [(R01 AG030311), Neural Mechanisms of Social Decision Making in Aging, August 1, 2006 - July 31, 2011)]. We found that amygdala responses to novelty, valence, and arousal are less robust and the functional connectivity between the amygdala and other affective brain structures is reduced in older individuals than in younger people. These findings indicate that information in the world is less affectively salient to older individuals. This is despite the fact that there appear to be few anatomical changes in the network that we have identified underlying affective salience (other than normal age-related reductions in amygdala volume). In the competing renewal, we will expand on these findings anatomically, functionally, and behaviorally. Using high resolution scanning, we will examine with more sophistication and precision, and in a larger sample, the extent to which both the structural integrity and intrinsic connectivity of brain regions within th affective salience network are maintained (or change) with age (Aim 1). In the context of spared anatomy and intrinsic connectivity within the affective salience network, task- related affective assemblies within this network are less robust with age, and we will examine the extent to which age-related reductions in sensory information from the body (in the form of reduced interceptive sensitivity) are responsible for task-related reductions in affective salience (Aim 2). Perhaps objects and events in the world are less salient because the bodily perturbations they produce are not detected and represented as efficiently in the aging brain. Furthermore, we will examine the extent to which these reductions in affective salience and interception underlie or contribute to normal age-related changes in memory for novel, neutral material (Aim 3) and in social engagement (Aim 4). Finally, using a longitudinal design, we will confirm that any age-related stability or decrements in affective salience can be disentangled from the substantial individual differences that exist, and also examine the extent to which strong affective reactivity is a protective factor, resulting in better memory for novel material and/or maintained social engagement as people age (Aim 5).

Public Health Relevance

As people age, memory declines and the risk for social isolation (as well as the health related risks of social isolation) increases. Successful aging in these domains appears to relate, in part, to the ability to be affectively engaged by the world. In this renewal, we examine the age-related anatomical, brain function, autonomic and behavioral changes that occur in affective engagement, and examine the extent to which strong affective reactivity is a protective factor as people age.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01AG030311-08
Application #
8658353
Study Section
Social Psychology, Personality and Interpersonal Processes Study Section (SPIP)
Program Officer
Nielsen, Lisbeth
Project Start
2006-09-30
Project End
2017-03-31
Budget Start
2014-04-01
Budget End
2015-03-31
Support Year
8
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
$683,985
Indirect Cost
$290,890
Name
Massachusetts General Hospital
Department
Type
DUNS #
073130411
City
Boston
State
MA
Country
United States
Zip Code
02199
Bickart, Kevin C; Brickhouse, Michael; Negreira, Alyson et al. (2014) Atrophy in distinct corticolimbic networks in frontotemporal dementia relates to social impairments measured using the Social Impairment Rating Scale. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 85:438-48
Stoub, Travis R; Detoledo-Morrell, Leyla; Dickerson, Bradford C (2014) Parahippocampal white matter volume predicts Alzheimer's disease risk in cognitively normal old adults. Neurobiol Aging 35:1855-61
Touroutoglou, Alexandra; Bickart, Kevin C; Barrett, Lisa Feldman et al. (2014) Amygdala task-evoked activity and task-free connectivity independently contribute to feelings of arousal. Hum Brain Mapp 35:5316-27
Heuer, Hilary W; Mirsky, Jacob B; Kong, Erwin L et al. (2013) Antisaccade task reflects cortical involvement in mild cognitive impairment. Neurology 81:1235-43
Touroutoglou, Alexandra; Hollenbeck, Mark; Dickerson, Bradford C et al. (2012) Dissociable large-scale networks anchored in the right anterior insula subserve affective experience and attention. Neuroimage 60:1947-58
Entis, Jonathan J; Doerga, Priya; Barrett, Lisa Feldman et al. (2012) A reliable protocol for the manual segmentation of the human amygdala and its subregions using ultra-high resolution MRI. Neuroimage 60:1226-35
Gross, James J; Barrett, Lisa Feldman (2011) Emotion Generation and Emotion Regulation: One or Two Depends on Your Point of View. Emot Rev 3:8-16
Moriguchi, Yoshiya; Negreira, Alyson; Weierich, Mariann et al. (2011) Differential hemodynamic response in affective circuitry with aging: an FMRI study of novelty, valence, and arousal. J Cogn Neurosci 23:1027-41
Weierich, Mariann R; Kensinger, Elizabeth A; Munnell, Alicia H et al. (2011) Older and wiser? An affective science perspective on age-related challenges in financial decision making. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 6:195-206
Poulin, Stephane P; Dautoff, Rebecca; Morris, John C et al. (2011) Amygdala atrophy is prominent in early Alzheimer's disease and relates to symptom severity. Psychiatry Res 194:7-13

Showing the most recent 10 out of 31 publications