Performance of younger and older adults in lateralised right and left hemisphere asymmetry tasks supports the HAROLD model

Kevin P Collins, Christine Mohr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

13 Citations (Scopus)
381 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The population of industrialised societies has increased tremendously over the last century, raising the question of how an enhanced age affects cognition. The
relevance of two models of healthy ageing are contrasted in the present study that both target the functioning of the two cerebral hemispheres. The right hemi-ageing model (RHAM) assumes that functions of the right hemisphere decline before those of the left hemisphere. The Hemispheric Asymmetry Reduction in Older Adults (HAROLD) model suggests that the contralateral hemisphere supports the normally superior hemisphere in a given task resulting in a reduced hemispheric asymmetry overall. In a mixed design 20 younger and 20 older adults performed both a task assessing a left (lateralised lexical decisions) and a right (sex decisions on chimeric faces) hemisphere advantage. Results indicated that lateralised performance in both tasks was attenuated in older as compared to younger adults, in particular in men. These observations support the HAROLD model. Future studies should investigate whether this reduced functional hemispheric asymmetry in older age results from compensatory processes or from a process of de-differentiation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-512
Number of pages22
JournalLaterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition
Volume18
Issue number4
Early online date3 Oct 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2013

Keywords

  • Ageing
  • Hemispheric asymmetry
  • Laterality
  • Right hemi-ageing

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