Finding a new balance
Change in cortical activations during the lifespan
The aim of the thesis was to examine the validity of an ERP index that is suitable for quantifying and indexing cognitive aging in both healthy and clinical populations. It has been hypothesized that older participants increasingly recruit brain activity originating from frontal regions of the cortex that compensate for age-related decline in other, task-related, cognitive resources. Therefore, a valid ERP index has to capture task-related cortical activity and compensatory cortical activity that is increasingly recruited with aging. A possible candidate lies within the P3 component. The ERP P3 is a wave of brain activation that is elicited in response to the presentation of an event, e.g., a stimulus during a specific task, and it is representative of cognitive processes related to the processing of such an event. Due to its clear link to several cognitive processes involved in information processing, the P3, was the main focus of this thesis.