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The Mediating Role of Affective States in Short-Term Effects of Activity Engagement on Working Memory in Older Age


Luo, Minxia; Moulder, Robert Glenn; Weber, Elisa; Röcke, Christina (2023). The Mediating Role of Affective States in Short-Term Effects of Activity Engagement on Working Memory in Older Age. Gerontology:1-13.

Abstract

Introduction: It has been shown that activity engagement is associated with cognitive ability in older age, but mechanisms behind the associations have rarely been examined. Following a recent study which showed short-term effects of activity engagement on working memory performance appearing 6 h later, this study examined the mediating role of affective states in this process.
Methods: For 7 times per day over 2 weeks, 150 Swiss older adults (aged 65–91 years) reported their present (sociocognitive/passive leisure) activities and affective states (high-arousal positive, low-arousal positive, high-arousal negative, and low-arousal negative) and completed an ambulatory working memory task on a smartphone.
Results: Multilevel vector autoregression models showed that passive leisure activities were associated with worse working memory performance 6 h later. Passive leisure activities were negatively associated with concurrent high-arousal positive affect (and high-arousal negative affect); high-arousal positive affect was negatively associated with working memory performance 6 h later. A Sobel test showed a significant mediation effect of high-arousal positive affect linking the time-lagged relationship between passive leisure activities and working memory. Additionally, sociocognitive activities were associated with better working memory performance 6 h later. Sociocognitive activities were associated with concurrent higher high- and low-arousal positive affect, which, however, were not associated with working memory performance 6 h later. Thus, a mediation related to sociocognitive activities was not found.
Discussion: Passive leisure activities could influence working memory performance through high-arousal positive affect within a timeframe of several hours. Results are discussed in relation to an emotional, and possibly a neuroendocrine, pathway explaining the time-lagged effects of affective states on working memory performance.

Abstract

Introduction: It has been shown that activity engagement is associated with cognitive ability in older age, but mechanisms behind the associations have rarely been examined. Following a recent study which showed short-term effects of activity engagement on working memory performance appearing 6 h later, this study examined the mediating role of affective states in this process.
Methods: For 7 times per day over 2 weeks, 150 Swiss older adults (aged 65–91 years) reported their present (sociocognitive/passive leisure) activities and affective states (high-arousal positive, low-arousal positive, high-arousal negative, and low-arousal negative) and completed an ambulatory working memory task on a smartphone.
Results: Multilevel vector autoregression models showed that passive leisure activities were associated with worse working memory performance 6 h later. Passive leisure activities were negatively associated with concurrent high-arousal positive affect (and high-arousal negative affect); high-arousal positive affect was negatively associated with working memory performance 6 h later. A Sobel test showed a significant mediation effect of high-arousal positive affect linking the time-lagged relationship between passive leisure activities and working memory. Additionally, sociocognitive activities were associated with better working memory performance 6 h later. Sociocognitive activities were associated with concurrent higher high- and low-arousal positive affect, which, however, were not associated with working memory performance 6 h later. Thus, a mediation related to sociocognitive activities was not found.
Discussion: Passive leisure activities could influence working memory performance through high-arousal positive affect within a timeframe of several hours. Results are discussed in relation to an emotional, and possibly a neuroendocrine, pathway explaining the time-lagged effects of affective states on working memory performance.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Special Collections > Centers of Competence > Healthy Longevity Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Cognitive aging, Affective arousal, Activity engagement, Ambulatory cognitive tasks, Lead-lag effect
Language:English
Date:18 September 2023
Deposited On:23 Oct 2023 10:19
Last Modified:30 Mar 2024 04:47
Publisher:Karger
ISSN:0304-324X
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1159/000534130
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)