Self-generation and positivity effects following transcranial random noise stimulation in medial prefrontal cortex: A reality monitoring task in older adults


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Activation of medial Prefrontal Cortex (mPFC) has been typically found during reality monitoring tasks (i.e., distinguishing between internal self-generated vs external information). No study, however, has yet investigated whether transcranial Random Noise Stimulation (tRNS) over the mPFC leads to a reduction in reality-monitoring misattributions in aging. In particular, stimulating mPFC should increase the number of cognitive operations engaged while encoding and this distinctive information may help older adults to discriminate between internal and external sources better. In addition, given that older adults are more sensitive to positively-charged information compared to younger adults and that mPFC is typically recruited during encoding of positive stimuli with reference to themselves, activation of mPFC should further sustain source retrieval in older adults. In this double-blind, sham-controlled study, we examined whether tRNS over the mPFC of healthy younger and older adults during encoding enhances subsequent reality monitoring for seen versus imagined emotionally-charged words. Our findings show that tRNS enhances reality monitoring for positively-charged imagined words in the older adult group alone, highlighting the role that mPFC plays in their memory for positive information. In line with the control-based account of positivity effects, our results add evidence about the neurocognitive processes involved in reality monitoring when older adults face emotionally-charged events.

Last updated on 04/27/2018