Does age affect medial prefrontal functions? A behavioral investigation

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The aging process has been shown to impair cognitive functions subsumed by the frontal lobes, but this region is heterogeneous and functions can be subdivided into different categories. Previous research focuses on aging within functions associated with dorsolateral and orbital prefrontal regions. This study investigates functions associated with another region – the medial prefrontal cortex. Tasks which tap abilities associated with dorsolateral and orbital prefrontal regions were administered to older and younger adults to replicate previous observations. Additionally, tasks which tap medial prefrontal abilities were administered, and age effects examined. Age-related differences were found on dorsolateral but not orbital prefrontal abilities. Significant age effects were also observed on both medial prefrontal tasks. These preliminary results support a region-specific theory of cognitive aging whereby dorsolateral and medial functions are most susceptible to decline, with orbital prefrontal functions remaining relatively preserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390–405
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology & Neuroscience
Issue number3
Early online date23 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • medial prefrontal functions
  • frontal lobes
  • aging
  • AX-Continuous Performance Task
  • Simon task


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