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Intranasal Oxytocin and Response Inhibition in Young and Older Adults
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology.
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2017 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In normal aging, people are confronted with impairment in both socioemotional and cognitive abilities. Specifically, there are age-related declines in inhibitory processes that regulate attention towards irrelevant material. In last years, the intranasal administration of the neuropeptide oxytocin has mainly been related to improvements in several domains such as emotion recognition and memory, but to date the effects of oxytocin in aging remain largely unknown. In a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, within-subjects study design, we investigated whether oxytocin facilitates inhibitory processing in older adults compared to younger adults. In total, 41 older adults (51% women; age range 65-75 years) and 37 younger adults (49% women; age range 20-30 years) participated in this study two times, receiving a single intranasal dose of 40 IU of placebo and oxytocin in randomized order 45 minutes before engaging in the task. Participants were tested approximately a month apart and mostly at the same hour during both occasions. Inhibition was measured with a Go/NoGo task which included happy and neutral faces as targets (Go stimuli) and distractors (NoGo stimuli) shown on a computer screen. Participants were instructed to press a button any time they saw a target and remain passive when encountering a distractor. Preliminary results indicate effects for happy and neutral faces, but only in the distractor condition. For happy distractors, women rejected correctly happy faces more accurately than men did, both in the placebo and oxytocin conditions. A main effect of age was observed for the neutral distractors, where older adults were more successful in inhibiting responses than younger adults during oxytocin and placebo treatments. We did not observe effects of oxytocin in the different tasks. The role of oxytocin was not clear distinguished in the tasks. In sum, our findings showed that age and gender can influence inhibition but their effects depend on the displayed emotions. This suggests that the ability to inhibit interfering distractors may remain intact despite of age and that deficits in inhibition may be selective. The role of oxytocin in inhibition needs to be further investigated since it is possible that it is context dependent.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
age differences, inhibition, oxytocin, emotions, old, young, happy, neutral
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-145515OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-145515DiVA: diva2:1129921
Conference
International Society for Research on Emotion, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. July 26-29, 2017.
Available from: 2017-08-07 Created: 2017-08-07 Last updated: 2017-08-07

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