It has been suggested that emotion regulation improves with aging. Here, we investigated age differences in emotion regulation by studying modulation of the late positive potential (LPP) by emotion regulation instructions. The electroencephalogram of younger (18-26 years) and older (60-77 years) adults was recorded while they viewed neutral, unpleasant, and pleasant pictures and while they were instructed to increase or decrease the feelings that the emotional pictures elicited. The LPP was enhanced when participants were instructed to increase their emotions. No age differences were observed in this emotion regulation effect, suggesting that emotion regulation abilities are unaffected by aging. This contradicts studies that measured emotion regulation by self-report, yet accords with studies that measured emotion regulation by means of facial expressions or psychophysiological responses. More research is needed to resolve the apparent discrepancy between subjective self-report and objective psychophysiological measures.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Aging, Emotion, Emotion regulation, Event-related potentials (ERPs), Late positive potential (LPP)
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1027/0269-8803/a000009, hdl.handle.net/1765/75095
Journal Journal of Psychophysiology (Print)
Citation
Langeslag, S.J.E, & van Strien, J.W. (2010). Comparable modulation of the late positive potential by emotion regulation in younger and older adults. Journal of Psychophysiology (Print), 24(3), 186–197. doi:10.1027/0269-8803/a000009