Aging and the genetic road towards the positivity effect in memory

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

Better memory for positive information compared to negative and neutral information has been repeatedly associated with successful aging. The main psychological explanations for this so-called “positivity effect” in memory principally rely on emotional, motivational, and cognitive mechanisms that make older adults' cognition highly sensitive to positive information according to ultimate goals of well-being. However, emerging evidence also delineates a genetic profile for positivity effects in memory, which may render some older adults more prone than others to encoding and remembering positive memories. First, we present a brief overview of behavioral and neuroimaging studies about the positivity effect in aging. Subsequently, we report studies on candidate genes associated with positive memories. In particular, we review work to date on several candidate genes that are sensitive to stimulus valence such as ADRA2B, COMT, and 5HTTLPR. Finally, we propose that the future approach to the study of genetic correlates of positivity effects in memory should also include mitochondrial functioning (TOMM40). Altogether, the study of genetics and cell biology of positivity effects in memory can help us to reveal the underlying bottom-up pathways to positive affect in healthy aging.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles