Glucose regulation and face recognition deficits in older adults: the role of attention

Nicola Jones, Leigh Riby, Michael Smith

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The present study investigated the perceptual, attentional, and memory processes underlying face recognition deficits observed in older adults with impaired glucoregulation. Participants were categorized as good glucoregulators or poor glucoregulators on the basis of an oral glucose tolerance test. Using event-related potential (ERP) methodology, 23 participants (62–88 years) performed a 2-stimulus oddball task. Participants were asked to rate and memorize 10 “target” faces, which were then presented amongst 120 unfamiliar foils. Behavioral results indicated that good glucoregulators were significantly more accurate at recognizing target faces. ERP markers of early visual perception (P1 and N170 components) and memory formation (P3 component) were unaffected by glucoregulatory efficiency. The P2 component, an index of attentional processing, was larger and delayed in the poor glucoregulators. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to suggest that face recognition deficits in poor glucoregulators may be due to impairments in attentional processing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-694
Number of pages22
JournalAging, Neuropsychology and Cognition: A Journal on Normal and Dysfunctional Development
Issue number5
Early online date13 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2018


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