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  • 1.
    Cortes, Diana
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Laukka, Petri
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology.
    Asperholm, Martin
    Fredborg, William
    Döllinger, Lillian
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
    Xiao, Shanshan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Högman, Lennart
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Dang, Junhua
    Fischer, Håkan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Intranasal Oxytocin and Response Inhibition in Young and Older Adults2017Conference paper (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.

  • 2. Dang, Junhua
    et al.
    Xiao, Shanshan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Liu, Ying
    Jiang, Yumeng
    Mao, Lihua
    Individual differences in dopamine level modulate the ego depletion effect2016In: International Journal of Psychophysiology, ISSN 0167-8760, E-ISSN 1872-7697, Vol. 99, p. 121-124Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Initial exertion of self-control impairs subsequent self-regulatory performance, which is referred to as the ego depletion effect. The current study examined how individual differences in dopamine level, as indexed by eye blink rate (EBR), would moderate ego depletion. An inverted-U-shaped relationship between EBR and subsequent self regulatory performance was found when participants initially engaged in self-control but such relationship was absent in the control condition where there was no initial exertion, suggesting individuals with a medium dopamine level may be protected from the typical ego depletion effect. These findings are consistent with a cognitive explanation which considers ego depletion as a phenomenon similar to switch costs that would be neutralized by factors promoting flexible switching.

  • 3. Dang, Junhua
    et al.
    Xiao, Shanshan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Zhang, Ting
    Liu, Ying
    Jiang, Bin
    Mao, Lihua
    When the poor excel: Poverty facilitates procedural learning2016In: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0036-5564, E-ISSN 1467-9450, Vol. 57, no 4, p. 288-291Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Recent research has shown that poverty directly impeded cognitive functions because the poor could be easily distracted by monetary concerns. We argue that this effect may be limited to functions relying on working memory. For functions that rely on proceduralized processes however, monetary concerns elicited by reminding of financial demands would be conducive rather than harmful. Our results supported this hypothesis by showing that participants with lower income reached the learning criterion of the information-integration categorization task faster than their more affluent counterparts after reminding of financial demands.

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