Although aging is associated with progressive increases in blood pressure level, previous research has been inconsistent as to whether older adults show greater or lesser cardiovascular reactivity (CVR) to emotion than do younger adults. There is reason to believe that these inconsistencies could be clarified by examining age-related differences in hemodynamic profile revealed by measuring the pattern of cardiac output and total peripheral resistance associated with changes in blood pressure reactivity. Accordingly, the present study examined the performance, CVR, and hemodynamic profile of younger and older adults during encoding and recognition of word pairs involving four valence types: positive, negative, mixed (positive/negative), and neutral word pairs. Results revealed higher baseline blood pressure, increased CVR characterized by a vascular hemodynamic profile, and more rapid recovery (especially during encoding) for older than for younger participants. Results are discussed in light of research and theory on the relationship between aging and cardiovascular health. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.