Lifespan Development and Aging

Degradation of Neural Dynamics with Age

Early theory on aging, and in particular, the age-based degradation of cognition, historically ascribes decline to some form of heightened “neural noise” that interferes with efficient processing (e.g., Crossman & Szafran, 1956; Cremer & Zeef, 1987; Welford, 1965, 1981). However, these early theories had rarely been tested by examining within-subject brain signals directly. Perhaps counterintuitively, our extant in vivo work consistently shows that older, poorer performers may generally exhibit less moment-to-moment brain signal variability than younger, higher performing adults (e.g., Garrett et al., 2010, 2011, JNeurosci; 2013 Cerebral Cortex; 2013 NBR; 2015 PNAS). Overall, our group seeks to understand why healthy, higher performing brains are highly and robustly dynamic across moments (adaptability, dynamic range, multi-stability?), and how this changes with development and aging.

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