The effects of mood and stress on cognition in aging
Research suggests that cognitive resources decline with old age, while emotional resources stay stable or even improve. I will present several lab-based studies suggesting that prospective memory (i.e. the ability to remember and perform intended actions in the future) in young adults is impaired by negative mood and acute stress, while performance in older adults is not affected. I will also show some applied studies conducted in participants’ everyday lives that suggest a slightly different pattern: Stress and negative mood in both age groups is negatively associated with prospective memory, while positive mood is associated with better performance. The potential role of emotion regulation, intrusive thoughts and motivation for explaining the observed results will be discussed based on models of emotion-cognition interactions.