Authors: Victoria Alexander, Mark Bahr, and Richard Hicks
Deficits in emotion recognition may provide a window into what is occurring in the ageing brain. We investigated whether changes in recognition of emotion could be attributed to a decline in memory processes. Sixty-two participants recruited from South-Eastern Queensland Australia divided into young (19-49), middle old (49-64) and old (65 and above) cohorts were administered computer administered tasks assessing emotion recognition, verbal and non-verbal memory. Emotion recognition declined in older adults for angry, surprised and fearful faces. Age related decline in verbal memory was also observed. This suggests some common element present in verbal memory may be involved in the process of emotion recognition. However, no concomitant decline in non-verbal memory was observed. This finding suggests a dissociation between non –verbal memory processes and decline in both emotion recognition and verbal memory processes, the findings are consistent with a view of age related decline as non-uniform or modular in nature. This study provides valuable insight into the ageing process and suggests decline may occur asynchronously.
Keywords: Ageing, cognitive decline, emotion recognition