The objective of the current study was to compare the trajectories of physiological levels of stress and self-report measures of mood in younger and older adults and to examine how a stress induction would affect performance. The current study examined physiological and subjective indicators of stress and mood before, mid-way through, and after being exposed to a stressful computer task. Stress levels and negative affect increased after stress induction relative to levels before and after the stressful task. Practice on the task helped to improve performance (accuracy and reaction time) but high workload measured during the task mitigated accuracy in younger and older adults, whereas it enhanced response speed in younger adults.

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Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Department of Psychology

Dijkstra, K, Charness, N, Yordon, R, & Fox, M. (2009). Changes in physiological stress and self-reported mood in younger and older adults after exposure to a stressful task. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 16(3), 338–356. doi:10.1080/13825580902773859