Multiple determinants of lifespan memory differences


© The Author(s) 2016.Memory problems are among the most common complaints as people grow older. Using structural equation modeling of commensurate scores of anterograde memory from a large (N = 315), population-derived sample (, we provide evidence for three memory factors that are supported by distinct brain regions and show differential sensitivity to age. Associative memory and item memory are dramatically affected by age, even after adjusting for education level and fluid intelligence, whereas visual priming is not. Associative memory and item memory are differentially affected by emotional valence, and the age-related decline in associative memory is faster for negative than for positive or neutral stimuli. Gray-matter volume in the hippocampus, parahippocampus and fusiform cortex, and a white-matter index for the fornix, uncinate fasciculus and inferior longitudinal fasciculus, show differential contributions to the three memory factors. Together, these data demonstrate the extent to which differential ageing of the brain leads to differential patterns of memory loss.






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Publication Info

Henson, Richard N, Karen L Campbell, Simon W Davis, Jason R Taylor, Tina Emery, Sharon Erzinclioglu, undefined Cam-CAN, Rogier A Kievit, et al. (2016). Multiple determinants of lifespan memory differences. Scientific Reports, 6. 10.1038/srep32527 Retrieved from

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Simon Wilton Davis

Associate Professor in Neurology

My research centers around the use of structural and functional imaging measures to study the shifts in network architecture in the aging brain. I am specifically interested in changes in how changes in structural and functional connectivity associated with aging impact the semantic retrieval of word or fact knowledge. Currently this involves asking why older adults have particular difficulty in certain kinds of semantic retrieval, despite the fact that vocabularies and knowledge stores typically improve with age.

A second line of research involves asking questions about how this semantic system is organized in young adults, understanding which helps form a basis for asking questions about older adults. To what degree are these semantic retrieval processes lateralized? What cognitive factors affect this laterality? How are brain structures like the corpus callosum involved in mediating distributed activation patterns associated with semantic retrieval? 

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