Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Recent empirical work suggests that, during healthy aging, the variability of network dynamics changes during task performance. Such variability appears to reflect the spontaneous formation and dissolution of different functional networks. We sought to extend these observations into resting-state dynamics. We recorded EEG in young, middle-aged, and older adults during a “rest–task–rest” design and investigated if aging modifies the interaction between resting-state activity and external stimulus-induced activity. Using multiscale entropy as our measure of variability, we found that, with increasing age, resting-state dynamics shifts from distributed to more local neural processing, especially at posterior sources. In the young group, resting-state dynamics also changed from pre- to post-task, where fine-scale entropy increased in task-positive regions and coarse-scale entropy increased in the posterior cingulate, a key region associated with the default mode network. Lastly, pre- and post-task resting-state dynamics were linked to performance on the intervening task for all age groups, but this relationship became weaker with increasing age. Our results suggest that age-related changes in resting-state dynamics occur across different spatial and temporal scales and have consequences for information processing capacity.