TitleThe Ups and Downs of Cognitive Function: Neuroticism and Negative Affect Drive Performance Inconsistency.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMunoz, E, Stawski, RS, Sliwinski, MJ, Smyth, JM, MacDonald, SWS
JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Date Published2018 Mar 26
ISSN1758-5368
Abstract
 

Objectives: Response time inconsistency (RTI)-or trial-to-trial variability in speeded performance-is increasingly recognized as an indicator of transient lapses of attention, cognitive health status, and central nervous system integrity, as well as a potential early indicator of normal and pathological cognitive aging (Hultsch, Strauss, Hunter, & MacDonald, 2008; MacDonald, Li, & Bäckman, 2009). Comparatively, little research has examined personality predictors of RTI across adulthood.

Methods: We evaluated the association between the personality trait neuroticism and RTI in a community-dwelling sample of 317 adults between the ages of 19 to 83 and tested for two indirect pathways through negative affect (NA) and cognitive interference (CI).

Results: The personality trait neuroticism predicted greater RTI independent of mean response time performance and demographic covariates; the results were age-invariant. Furthermore, NA (but not CI) accounted for this association and moderated mediation model results indicated that older adults were more vulnerable to the adverse effects of NA.

Discussion: Neuroticism predicts greater response time inconsistency irrespective of mean performance and this effect is driven largely by heightened negative emotionality that may be particularly detrimental for older adults.

DOI10.1093/geronb/gby032
Alternate JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
PubMed ID29590450
Grant ListF32 AG056134 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States