Aging of the Brain Causes Changes in Emotional Creativity

Results of One of the First Empirical Studies on Emotional Creativity in Older Adults
By: Prague College of Psychosocial Studies
 
 
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Sept. 11, 2019 - PRLog -- Summary:

Cognitive decline influences how older adults creatively think about their own, as well as other peoples' emotions, according to research published in the Creativity Research Journal (2019, 31/1, 93-101, Taylor & Francis Group). The results of this study indicate that age-related changes in emotional creativity can serve as an important diagnostic tool for the psychological assessment of the early stages of neurodegenerative diseases in the elderly.

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Creativity Research Journal, a recognized scientific resource, has published the results of one of the first empirical academic research studies aimed at understanding the changes in emotional creativity in older adults. The study examines how emotional creativity, i.e. the ability to creatively think about emotions, differs in older adults with and without cognitive decline. Cognitive decline marks the aging of the brain, and is often also the first signal of beginning dementia.

"Our research shows that the cognitive deficits associated with the worsened functioning of the frontal-subcortical brain circuits causes older adults to think less about their own emotions, as well as about the emotions of other people," says Radek Trnka, PhD, a senior researcher at the Prague College of Psychosocial Studies.

Trnka and his colleagues examined 187 participants over 55 years of age, including both cognitively healthy older adults and older adults in different stages of cognitive decline. The purpose of the study is to explore how worsened cognitive abilities, e.g. executive dysfunction, disinhibition, apathy, and memory deficits, influence emotional creativity.

"The most interesting part of our research is that we now have evidence showing that cognitive decline reduces not only creativity in problem solving, but also the creativity that is closely related to the emotional life of older adults," says Trnka. These changes may also have a key impact on the quality of life in late adulthood.

"Overall, this study indicates that age-related changes in emotional creativity may be important for the psychological assessment that can reveal the early stages of neurodegenerative diseases in the elderly," Trnka claims. "If these findings are supported by studies using a more complex battery of neuropsychological tests, changes in emotional creativity could become one of the key diagnostic tools for the early revelation of the first stages of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease.

Contact: Radek Trnka, PhD can be contacted via email: trnkar@volny.cz; ORCID: 0000-0003-3731-468X

Journal Reference: Trnka R., Cabelkova I., Kuška M., Nikolai T. (2019). Cognitive decline influences emotional creativity in the elderly. Creativity Research Journal, 31, 1, 93-101.

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