Aging bodies, aging emotions: Interoceptive differences in emotion representations and self-reports across adulthood.

Author: MacCormack JK1, Henry TR1, Davis BM2, Oosterwijk S3, Lindquist KA1
Affiliation: <sup>1</sup>Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. <sup>2</sup>Epic Systems Corporation. <sup>3</sup>Department of Social Psychology.
Conference/Journal: Emotion.
Date published: 2019 Nov 21
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1037/emo0000699. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 228

Bodily sensations are closely linked to emotional experiences. However, most research assessing the body-emotion link focuses on young adult samples. Inspired by prior work showing age-related declines in autonomic reactivity and interoception, we present 2 studies investigating age-related differences in the extent to which adults (18-75 years) associate interoceptive or internal bodily sensations with emotions. Study 1 (N = 150) used a property association task to assess age effects on adults' tendencies to associate interoceptive sensations, relative to behaviors or situations, with negative emotion categories (e.g., anger, sadness). Study 2 (N = 200) used the Day Reconstruction experience sampling method to assess the effect of age on adults' tendencies to report interoceptive sensations and emotional experiences in daily life. Consistent with prior literature suggesting that older adults have more muted physiological responses and interoceptive abilities than younger adults, we found that older adults' mental representations (Study 1) and self-reported experiences (Study 2) of emotion are less associated with interoceptive sensations than are those of younger adults. Across both studies, age effects were most prominent for high arousal emotions (e.g., anger, fear) and sensations (e.g., racing heart) that are often associated with peripheral psychophysiological concomitants in young adults. These findings are consistent with psychological constructionist models and a "maturational dualism" account of emotional aging, suggesting additional pathways by which emotions may differ across adulthood. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

PMID: 31750705 DOI: 10.1037/emo0000699