Aims: The aim of the study was to assess the activation of prefrontal cortex during sustained attention task in young and middle aged adults using Functional near infrared spectroscopy system.
Background: Sustained Attention (SA) is a construct of cognition that tends to decline with age. There is a paucity of literature regarding the neural correlates of SA in middle age, a link between young and old age.
Objective: This study evaluated the differences in SA ability and its neural correlates using fNIRS between young and middle aged adults.
Methods: 38 young and 25 middle aged adults were evaluated for the changes in neural correlates (oxy and deoxy haemoglobin concentration in prefrontal cortex) during a SA task known as cognitrone.
Results: The results obtained showed that young adults performed significantly better than middle aged adults on the SA task with no gender difference in their performance. There was a significant difference in the prefrontal activation pattern between young and middle aged adults. We found right prefrontal dominance in young adults and left prefrontal dominance in middle aged adults.
Conclusion: This study concludes that the ability to maintain SA diminishes with age, advancing from young to middle age. Hemodynamic findings confirmed significant differences in neural resources in the prefrontal cortical areas between young and middle age.