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Advances in Psychological Science    2019, Vol. 27 Issue (12) : 2064-2076     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2019.02064
Regular Articles |
The mechanism of positivity effect in elderly’s emotional attention
LIU Haining1,2,3, LIU Xiaoqian2,3,4, LIU Haihong1, LI Feng5,6, HAN Buxin2,3()
1 Psychology Department, Chengde Medical University, Chengde 067000, China
2 Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100040, China
4 School of Sociology, China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing 102249, China
5 School of Statistics, Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, Nanchang 330013, China
6 Research Center of Applied Statistics, Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, Nanchang 330013, China
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In the 20th century, many psychologists who held the “doom and suffering” perspective studied the physical, cognitive, and emotional losses experienced by people in their later years. However, recent theoretical and empirical researches have challenged this generally acknowledged truth from the perspective of the “aging paradox” which recognized the positivity effect of aging on emotional processing. The positivity effect has been observed in cases where older adults preferred positive materials rather than negative materials compared to younger adults in cognitive processing. The second-generation socioemotional selectivity theories incooperated the positivity effect theory, cognitive control hypothesis, and strength and vulnerability integration three theoretical models, which describe the effects of age differences on cognitive and emotional functions and emphasize the potential role of cognitive control in the positive emotional process of older adults. However, the distinction between automatic and controlled cognitive processes depends on the allocation of attentional resources. Therefore, the cognitive control may play an important role in attention processes of positive emotional information among the elderly. In addition, the time course of attention bias may be another key factor associated with positivity effects. Finally, based on these factors accounted for, the attention stage model of cognitive control which would influence the positivity effects of aging was constructed. Future studies could explore Chinese elderly’s emotional attention processing mode, the functional mechanisms of different cognitive control subcomponents, and the treatment quality of attention, to improve the ecological validity of the studies.

Keywords positivity effect      emotional attention      cognitive control      aging      attention stage model     
:  B844  
Corresponding Authors: Buxin HAN     E-mail:
Issue Date: 21 October 2019
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Haining LIU
Xiaoqian LIU
Haihong LIU
Feng LI
Buxin HAN
Cite this article:   
Haining LIU,Xiaoqian LIU,Haihong LIU, et al. The mechanism of positivity effect in elderly’s emotional attention[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2019, 27(12): 2064-2076.
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研究类型 具体研究 年龄段或
研究范式 注意偏向模式 PE 刺激呈现后
Madill & Murray, 2017
Study 1
Study 2
19~29 vs.64~90
18~30 vs.63~84
双任务 Study 1
Study 2

被试做出反应或3000 ms

Bannerman et al., 2011 18~22 vs.60~74 双眼竞争 年轻人:双向偏向
10 ms
眼动 Isaacowitz, Allard, et al., 2009 18~21 vs.57~84 观看图片 年轻人:无偏向
500 ms以后
Isaacowitz, Livingstone,
Harris, &Marcotte, 2015
Study 1
Study 2
17~23 vs.60~91
18~25 vs.35~59
vs. 60~88
场景选择 Study 1
Study 2

Isaacowitz et al., 2018 18~23 vs.35~59
vs. 60~86
场景选择 老、中、青均表现出积极偏向
ERP Hilimire et al., 2014 18~31 vs.61~77 观看图片 年轻人:消极偏向
0~130 ms
Meng et al. 2015 18~22 vs.60~74 观看图片 年轻人:消极偏向
400~1000 ms
Renfroe et al., 2016 20 vs. 72 观看图片 年轻人:双向偏向
400~800 ms
喻婧 等, 2015 17~26 vs.61~75 oddball 年轻人:无偏向

270~460 ms

500~850 ms
脑成像 Leclerc & Kensing, 2010 18~26 vs.62~81 视觉搜
被试做出反应或4000 ms
Wright et al., 2006 21~27 vs.62~81 熟悉再
200 ms
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