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Alternative Title

Adult age and executive function on reactivity and recovery

Publication Date


First Advisor

Beth Powell

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Aging, Executive function, Emotion, Older adults, Affect, Reactivity, Recovery, Mood, Older people-Psychology, Executive functions (Neuropsychology), Stress (Psychology), Aging-Psychological aspects


While executive function predicts successful effortful mood regulation in older adults, few studies have examined executive function and spontaneous reactivity and recovery in this population. We investigated the effects of age and executive function on naturalistic emotional reactivity and recovery in response to negative mood induction. Cognitively intact young adults (n = 69) and older adults (n = 37) viewed film clips featuring interpersonal loss.

Before and after viewing, and following 5- and 10-minute recovery periods, participants completed a self-report affect measure. Executive function was assessed using the Trail Making Test (TMT) Condition 4 and D-KEFS Verbal Fluency. No significant associations were seen between affect reactivity/recovery and either Verbal Fluency or TMT performance. These findings suggest that naturalistic reactivity and recovery in older adults may not rely heavily on executive function.

Implications for current understanding of the cognition-emotion relationship are discussed.




39 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 26-33)