Age-related differences in BOLD modulation to cognitive control costs in a multitasking paradigm: Global switch, local switch, and compatibility-switch costs

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

It is well documented that older adults recruit additional brain regions compared to those recruited by younger adults while performing a wide variety of cognitive tasks. However, it is unclear how such age-related over-recruitment interacts with different types of cognitive control, and whether this over-recruitment is compensatory. To test this, we used a multitasking paradigm, which allowed us to examine age-related over-activation associated with three types of cognitive costs (i.e., global switch, local switch, compatibility-switch costs). We found age-related impairments in global switch cost (GSC), evidenced by slower response times for maintaining and coordinating two tasks vs. performing only one task. However, no age-related declines were observed in either local switch cost (LSC), a cognitive cost associated with switching between the two tasks while maintaining two task loads, or compatibility-switch cost (CSC), a cognitive cost associated with incompatible vs. compatible stimulus-response mappings across the two tasks. The fMRI analyses allowed for identification of distinct cognitive cost-sensitive brain regions associated with GSC and LSC. In fronto-parietal GSC and LSC regions, older adults' increased activations were associated with poorer performance (greater costs), whereas a reverse relationship was observed in younger adults. Older adults also recruited additional fronto-parietal brain regions outside the cognitive cost-sensitive areas, which was associated with poorer performance or no behavioral benefits. Our results suggest that older adults exhibit a combination of inefficient activation within cognitive cost-sensitive regions, specifically the GSC and LSC regions, and non-compensatory over-recruitment in age-sensitive regions. Age-related declines in global switching, compared to local switching, was observed earlier in old age at both neural and behavioral levels.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles