Best Timing for Elders: Exploring the Effects of Chronotype, Time-Of-Day, and Age Difference on Attention and Working Memory

Project: National Science and Technology CouncilNational Science and Technology Council Academic Grants

Project Details


Aging process was pervasively explored in the society of neuroscience, stemming from the perspective of the cognitive declines along with age. However, it is easily forgotten that senior adults are not always with cognitive impairments, but in most cases they are highly respected and appreciated for their bountiful experiences and accumulated wisdom. Biologically, the elderly adults indeed have reduced stamina and shifted circadian rhythms; however, given a correct timing, their cognitive performances can even beat the young adults. This biological rhythm notion has been proven to impact on one’s cognitive performances through the interactions between light reception, core temperature and melatonin secretions. Along with this concept, how to assist the elderly adults to contribute their valuable knowledge at the best timing, rebuilding their dignity and social recognition, becomes a critical issue for improving life quality of the elderly. Therefore, this project aims at assisting individual senior adult to explore the best timing with the highest efficiency in specific task engagements. In this three-year project, we will recruit 40 elder adults and 40 younger volunteers each year. By integrating the objective indices from the wearable devices (e.g., actigraphy and wireless temperature sensor patch) and subjective Morningness-Everingness Questionnaire (MEQ), we will evaluate the circadian rhythms and chronotype for each individual accurately. By measuring the cognitive performances of attention and working-memory at three time points in a day, we will be able to suggest the best timing for engaging attention- and memory-associated tasks according to one’s chronotype. The second goal of this project is to investigate the age differences, neuroimaging differences of senior adults between chronotypes and also to study the disparity of brain activities at different timings of a day, via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG). After completing this project, we expect to provide the senior adults with sufficient self-recognition on their cognitive performances and to reveal the positive perspectives of the aging process to the public.

Project IDs

Project ID:PB10607-1403
External Project ID:MOST106-2221-E182-027
Effective start/end date01/08/1731/07/18


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