Responses to executive demand in young adulthood differ by APOE genotype

Atkinson, Rebecca Á, Gaysina, Darya and Rusted, Jennifer M (2019) Responses to executive demand in young adulthood differ by APOE genotype. Behavioural Brain Research, 360. pp. 158-168. ISSN 0166-4328

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Despite evidence of a relationship between Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4+ and later-life cognitive decline, the lifespan effects of carrying an ε4+ allele on cognitive ageing are not well understood. Evidence of ε4+ advantages in early-life are inconsistent, but not inconsiderable. We explored the proposal that APOE ε4+ cognitive advantages arise only in response to complex and sensitive tasks targeting specific executive functions. We systematically manipulated executive demand within verbal fluency, decision-making, prospective memory, and sustained attention tasks. Participants aged 18–25 years (21 ε4+, 63 ε33) also completed a measure of subjective effort. Under low executive demand, ε4+ made fewer verbal fluency word repeats compared to ε33 carriers. Under high executive demand, ε4+ showed lower costs associated with performing concurrent tasks, greater switching errors, and more verbal fluency root repetition errors. Overall, ε4+ appeared to be showing working memory updating advantages under conditions of low executive demand, more effective resource allocation under elevated levels of executive demand, and errors indicating different strategy use compared to ε33 carriers, including speed-accuracy trade-offs.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: APOE ɛ4; cognitive aging; young adults; executive function; prospective memory; verbal fluency
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Sanjeedah Choudhury
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2019 11:08
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2019 02:00

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