Date of Award
Master of Arts in Psychology
College of Sciences and Health Professions
Aging; Behavioral Sciences; Cognitive Psychology; Developmental Psychology; Psychology
Research in emotional aging has primarily investigated mechanisms that could explain the age-related increase in positive emotionality despite various age-related losses. Of particular note is the increasing importance of age-related positivity effects and underlying biological influences on affective processes. Despite evidence of weakened mind-body connectivity in older adulthood presented in the maturation dualism framework, research shows age-similarities in subjective and objective reactivity for certain negative emotional states across adulthood. Thus, robust physiological-experiential associations may still exist in later life. Investigations of integrated mind-body connectivity have lead researchers to examine the influence of posture on cognitive outcomes. Prior evidence has observed that specific postural manipulations (i.e., stooped posture) is linked to negative affective biases in memory and emotional experiences. To interrogate potential posture effects on word recognition, an incidental encoding task was utilized. Although no age differences emerged for concrete words, younger adults outperformed older adults on both negative and neutral abstract words, and older adults remembered more positive relative to neutral abstract words. These results provide partial support for age-related positivity, perhaps in line with older adults’ motivated positive affective goals. Although posture effects were absent in both age groups, there remains considerable room for other integrative research assessing mind-body connectivity within emotion-cognition links across adulthood.
Hamilton, Lucas John, "Does posture impact affective word processing? Examining the role of posture across adulthood in an incidental encoding task" (2018). ETD Archive. 1078.