Stress, Aging and Working Memory

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

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DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): A large body of empirical research has established a link between excessive stress and a number of adverse health outcomes. Since the discovery of corticosteroid receptors in the rat hippocampus there has also been considerable interest in how stress affects memory, and more generally, cognition. Although a large number of studies have examined how physiological components of the stress response relate to cognition, there is surprisingly little research on how the experience of naturally occurring stress relates to cognitive impairment. Some recent evidence suggests that stress could impact not only declarative memory, but also working memory and executive function, and that these effects may be amplified in older compared to younger adults. Our overall goal is to examine the relationship between naturally occurring stress, cortisol, and specific aspects of working memory function. We propose two studies to accomplish goal. The first study is a cross-sectional multivariate experiment focused on between-person relationships between stress and cognition and the second is longitudinal measurement-burst design that will examine the temporal dynamics of the within-person relationship between stress and cognition across a wide range of time intervals (days to months). Our research has the following Specific Aims: (1): To examine whether that stress affects cognition by depleting attentional resources; (2): To examine which aspect of the stress response predicts cognitive performance by using multiple approaches to measuring stress (i.e., life events, daily stress, subjective severity) and its psychological and physiological effects; (3): To examine the hypothesis that aging amplifies the effect of stress on cognition; and (4) To examine whether stress and cognition are coupled within individuals. This will involve testing hypotheses that the above aim at both the between- person level and the within-person level of analysis, by examining the within-person coupling of stress and cognition over a broad sampling of time intervals, ranging from days to months to years. [unreadable]
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StatusFinished
Effective start/end date6/1/065/31/07

Funding

  • National Institute on Aging: $485,712.00

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