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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

January 2008

Month Degree Awarded

May

Keywords

Emotion, Mood, Executive Functioning, Verbal Fluency, Design Fluency

Abstract

EEG activation studies suggest cerebral lateralization of emotions with greater left than right prefrontal activation during positive mood states and greater right than left prefrontal activation during negative mood states (Davidson et al., 1990). Cerebral lateralization is also observed in cognitive tasks, with verbal fluency associated with left frontal activation and design fluency associated with right frontal activation (Baldo et al., 2001). Further, there are lateralized associations between emotion and cognition; that is, verbal fluency is positively associated with induced positive mood, whereas design fluency is positively associated with induced negative mood (Bartolic et al., 1999). The current study expected naturally occurring mood states to be differentially associated with performance on executive function fluency tasks, and based on previous findings (Cabeza, 2002), that age would moderate the association between emotion and fluency. Results suggest a trend for a positive association between positive affect (PA) and verbal fluency. Age did not moderate associations between emotion and cognitive tasks, although greater interdependence between cognitive and emotion variables in older relative to middle-aged adults suggests decreased lateralization in older adults; however differences in interdependence between older and younger adults were negligible. These results suggest that PA may positively influence some areas of cognition, although age may not moderate these results. Sample and measurement limitations may have contributed to this finding.

First Advisor

Rebecca E Ready

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