People may differ in their ways of processing tasks or situations, which may be explained by cognitive styles that define individual differences in information processing strategies. The cognitive style ranges between two extremes: analytic and holistic processing style. The concept of cognitive style has been widely investigated in the literature, but its age-related differences in the neural substrates have remained elusive. In this study, we focused on the white matter structure of the corpus callosum and its possible link to age-related differences in cognitive style, given its functional ability to connect and facilitate efficient communication between the left and right cerebral hemispheres. Seventy-two participants aged 20–75 years participated in this study. Participants’ cognitive styles were measured by the Analysis-Holism Scale (AHS), and their white matter microstructures were acquired using diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging. The results revealed that older adults tend to have a more holistic processing style than younger adults. We then compared the white matter of tracts of interest between high and low AHS groups and found that the white matter microstructure in the genu of the corpus callosum can be used to distinguish between AHS subgroups. Interestingly, we found that age negatively correlated with the white matter tracts across the brain, indicating that aging is associated with reduced microstructure integrity. Together, our findings suggest that analytic-holistic cognitive styles of information processing possibly reflect that the microstructure development in the anterior part of the corpus callosum may influence the type of age-related information processing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry
- Behavioral Neuroscience