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Brain and Cognition 49, 277296 (2002) doi:10.1006/brcg.2001.1501

Summary: Brain and Cognition 49, 277­296 (2002)
Attentional Control in the Aging Brain: Insights
from an fMRI Study of the Stroop Task
Michael P. Milham,* Kirk I. Erickson,* Marie T. Banich, Arthur F. Kramer,*
Andrew Webb,* Tracey Wszalek,* and Neal J. Cohen*
*The Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana­Champaign;
and University of Colorado at Boulder
Several recent studies of aging and cognition have attributed decreases in the efficiency of
working memory processes to possible declines in attentional control, the mechanism(s) by
which the brain attempts to limit its processing to that of task-relevant information. Here we
used fMRI measures of neural activity during performance of the color­word Stroop task to
compare the neural substrates of attentional control in younger (ages: 21­27 years old) and
older participants (ages: 60­75 years old) during conditions of both increased competition
(incongruent and congruent neutral) and increased conflict (incongruent and congruent neu-
tral). We found evidence of age-related decreases in the responsiveness of structures thought
to support attentional control (e.g., dorsolateral prefrontal and parietal cortices), suggesting
possible impairments in the implementation of attentional control in older participants. Consis-
tent with this notion, older participants exhibited more extensive activation of ventral visual
processing regions (i.e., temporal cortex) and anterior inferior prefrontal cortices, reflecting


Source: Andrews, Anne M. - Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, Pennsylvania State University


Collections: Biology and Medicine