Aging is associated with reduced conscious error detection but the brain regions mediating these changes have yet to be clarified. The present study examined the neural correlates of error awareness in healthy older adults. Sixteen older participants (mean age = 75.5 years) and sixteen younger controls (mean age = 27.9 years) were administered the error awareness task, a go/no-go response inhibition paradigm, in which participants were required to signal commission errors. Compared with young adults, older adults were significantly poorer at consciously detecting performance errors, despite both groups being matched for overall accuracy. This age-related behavioral effect was associated with differences in error-related dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and insula activation, with younger adults showing significant differences between errors made with versus without awareness compared with older adults. By contrast, an age-specific modulation in right inferior parietal lobule activation emerged, with increased right inferior parietal lobule activity occurring in older adults during errors made with awareness compared with younger adults. These findings are consistent with theories of age-related deterioration in error processing mechanisms.
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References

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