Get access

A parietal-to-frontal shift in the P300 is associated with compensation of tactile discrimination deficits in late middle-aged adults

Authors

  • Eva-Maria Reuter,

    1. Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning and Institutional Development, Jacobs University Bremen, Bremen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Claudia Voelcker-Rehage,

    1. Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning and Institutional Development, Jacobs University Bremen, Bremen, Germany
    2. AgeAct Research Center, Jacobs University Bremen, Bremen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Solveig Vieluf,

    1. Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning and Institutional Development, Jacobs University Bremen, Bremen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Axel H. Winneke,

    1. Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning and Institutional Development, Jacobs University Bremen, Bremen, Germany
    2. AgeAct Research Center, Jacobs University Bremen, Bremen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ben Godde

    Corresponding author
    1. AgeAct Research Center, Jacobs University Bremen, Bremen, Germany
    • Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning and Institutional Development, Jacobs University Bremen, Bremen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author

  • This research was supported by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG, VO 1432/7-1) as part of the DFG priority program Age-Differentiated Work Systems (SPP 1184). We thank Sandra Fellehner and Janine Ohmann for their help with data collection, Mathew Hunter and Catherine Li for careful proofreading, and the editor John Polich and two unknown reviewers for their very helpful and constructive comments on the manuscript.

Address correspondence to: Dr. Ben Godde, Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning, Jacobs University Bremen, Campus Ring 1, D-28759 Bremen, Germany. E-mail: b.godde@jacobs-university.de

Abstract

Tactile perception declines with age on both behavioral and neurophysiological levels. Less well understood is how neurophysiological changes relate to tactile discrimination performance in middle adulthood. A tactile discrimination task was conducted while ERPs were measured in three groups of healthy adults aged 20 to 66 years. Accuracy was lowest in late middle adulthood (56–66 years) while somatosensory ERP components (P50, N70, P100, N140) were comparable across age groups. The cognitive P300 revealed age-related differences in scalp distribution typical for older adults to already be present in late middle adulthood. Increased recruitment of frontal cognitive processes was positively related to performance in later middle adulthood. Our results further the understanding of age-related differences in tactile perception during middle adulthood and the importance of cognitive processes to compensate for age-related decline.

Ancillary