Age-related reduction of hemispheric lateralization for spatial attention: an EEG study

Learmonth, G. , Benwell, C. S.Y., Thut, G. and Harvey, M. (2017) Age-related reduction of hemispheric lateralization for spatial attention: an EEG study. NeuroImage, 153, pp. 139-151. (doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.03.050) (PMID:28343987)

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A group-level visuospatial attention bias towards the left side of space (pseudoneglect) is consistently observed in young adults, which is likely to be a consequence of right parieto-occipital dominance for spatial attention. Conversely, healthy older adults demonstrate a rightward shift of this behavioural bias, hinting that an age-related reduction of lateralised neural activity may occur within visuospatial attention networks. We compared young (aged 18-25) and older (aged 60-80) adults on a computerised line bisection (landmark) task whilst recording event-related potentials (ERPs). Full-scalp cluster mass permutation tests identified a larger right parieto-occipital response for long lines compared to short in young adults (confirming Benwell et al., 2014a) which was not present in the older group. To specifically investigate age-related differences in hemispheric lateralisation, cluster mass permutation tests were then performed on a lateralised EEG dataset (RH-LH electrodes). A period of right lateralisation was identified in response to long lines in young adults, which was not present for short lines. No lateralised clusters were present for either long or short lines in older adults. Additionally, a reduced P300 component amplitude was observed for older adults relative to young. We therefore report here, for the first time, an age-related and stimulus-driven reduction of right hemispheric control of spatial attention in older adults. Future studies will need to determine whether this is representative of the normal aging process or an early indicator of neurodegeneration.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Thut, Professor Gregor and Learmonth, Dr Gemma and Harvey, Professor Monika and Benwell, Mr Christopher
Authors: Learmonth, G., Benwell, C. S.Y., Thut, G., and Harvey, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:NeuroImage
ISSN (Online):1095-9572
Published Online:23 March 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in NeuroImage 153: 139-151
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
577261Glasgow - ESRC Standard Research Transition Standard Quota DTGMary Beth KneafseyEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/I902414/1RSI - RESEARCH STRATEGY & INNOVATION