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The effects of ageing on false-belief reasoning abilities: an EEG study with older and younger adults

Bradford, Elisabeth E.F., Brunsdon, Victoria E.A., Ferguson, Heather J. (2017) The effects of ageing on false-belief reasoning abilities: an EEG study with older and younger adults. In: Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) Conference, 25-28th March, 2017, San Francisco, California, USA. (Unpublished) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:62417)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)

Abstract

A critical part of our day-to-day lives is our ability to understand the mental states (beliefs, desires, knowledge) of the people we interact with, often referred to as possession of a ‘Theory of Mind’ (ToM). One of the litmus tests of ToM is understanding of false-beliefs –awareness that another individual is in possession of an incorrect belief, and would be expected to act in a manner consistent with this. Prior research with young adults has shown key differences in how true-belief versus false-belief stories are processed; however, it is not currently clear whether this differentiation continues across the lifespan. This study explored how true and false-belief situations are processed by younger (18-35 years) and older (65+ years) adults. Electroencephalography (EEG) measures were taken whilst participants listened to short stories in which a character is described as having a true or false-belief about an object’s location, before acting in a manner consistent or inconsistent with their belief-state (i.e. where they look for an object). Analysis revealed that when the character held a true-belief about an object’s location, the N400 waveform was more negative-going for belief-inconsistent versus belief-consistent actions, in both younger and older adults. However, when the character held a false-belief about an object’s location, older adults showed the opposite pattern, with more negative-going waveforms for belief-consistent than belief-inconsistent actions, which was not the case for the younger adults. Results suggest potential differences in the processes underlying belief-reasoning across the lifespan.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Poster)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Lizzie Bradford
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2017 15:20 UTC
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2020 04:13 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/62417 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Bradford, Elisabeth E.F.: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7647-0891
Ferguson, Heather J.: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1575-4820
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