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Older adults fail to form stable task representations during model-based reversal inference

Hämmerer, D; Schwartenbeck, P; Gallagher, M; FitzGerald, THB; Düzel, E; Dolan, RJ; (2018) Older adults fail to form stable task representations during model-based reversal inference. Neurobiology of Aging , 74 pp. 90-100. 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2018.10.009. Green open access

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Abstract

Older adults struggle in dealing with changeable and uncertain environments across several cognitive domains. This has been attributed to difficulties in forming adequate task representations that help navigate uncertain environments. Here, we investigate how, in older adults, inadequate task representations impact on model-based reversal learning. We combined computational modeling and pupillometry during a novel model-based reversal learning task, which allowed us to isolate the relevance of task representations at feedback evaluation. We find that older adults overestimate the changeability of task states and consequently are less able to converge on unequivocal task representations through learning. Pupillometric measures and behavioral data show that these unreliable task representations in older adults manifest as a reduced ability to focus on feedback that is relevant for updating task representations, and as a reduced metacognitive awareness in the accuracy of their actions. Instead, the data suggested older adults' choice behavior was more consistent with a guidance by uninformative feedback properties such as outcome valence. Our study highlights that an inability to form adequate task representations may be a crucial factor underlying older adults' impaired model-based inference.

Type: Article
Title: Older adults fail to form stable task representations during model-based reversal inference
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2018.10.009
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2018.10.0...
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Aging, Decision-making, Feedback evaluation, Model-based inference, Pupillometry, Task representations
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10061975
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