Date of Award

Winter 2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Abeare, Christopher A.

Keywords

Psychology, Aging, Emotion, Executive function, Mood, Switching

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Research shows that changes in our moods can affect our performance on cognitive tasks. Most studies to date have used young adults and the interaction between mood, cognitive performance and age have rarely been examined. There are age-specific changes in executive functions and mood regulation. This study examined the effect of mood on set switching and inhibitory control by comparing performances in young and older adults after neutral, positive and negative mood inductions using forced cued based switching tasks. In a neutral mood, older adults showed reduced set switching abilities and inhibitory control compared to young adults. Consistent with the literature, young adults showed reduced switching performance in a positive mood; they made more switching errors in a visual switch task. Older participants improved their switching abilities following mood inductions in a negative or positive direction when compared to a neutral mood induction. The relationship between mood and task switching performance was significant even after controlling for working memory, reaction time and inhibitory processes. Young and older adults made different types of errors during the switching task. Proposed explanations for findings are discussed.

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