Age-related effects on the neural correlates of autobiographical memory retrieval.

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2012-07

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Abstract

Older adults recall less episodically rich autobiographical memories (AM), however, the neural basis of this effect is not clear. Using functional MRI, we examined the effects of age during search and elaboration phases of AM retrieval. Our results suggest that the age-related attenuation in the episodic richness of AMs is associated with difficulty in the strategic retrieval processes underlying recovery of information during elaboration. First, age effects on AM activity were more pronounced during elaboration than search, with older adults showing less sustained recruitment of the hippocampus and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) for less episodically rich AMs. Second, there was an age-related reduction in the modulation of top-down coupling of the VLPFC on the hippocampus for episodically rich AMs. In sum, the present study shows that changes in the sustained response and coupling of the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex (PFC) underlie age-related reductions in episodic richness of the personal past.

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10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2010.11.007

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St Jacques, Peggy L, David C Rubin and Roberto Cabeza (2012). Age-related effects on the neural correlates of autobiographical memory retrieval. Neurobiol Aging, 33(7). pp. 1298–1310. 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2010.11.007 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/9768.

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Rubin

David C. Rubin

Juanita M. Kreps Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

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My main research interest has been in long-term memory, especially for complex (or "real-world") stimuli. This work includes the study of autobiographical memory and oral traditions, as well as prose. I have also studied memory as it is more commonly done in experimental psychology laboratories using lists. In addition to this purely behavioral research, which I plan to continue, I work on memory in clinical populations with the aid of a National Institute of Mental Health grant to study PTSD and on the underlying neural basis of memory the aid of a National Institute of Aging grant to study autobiographical memory using fMRI.





Cabeza

Roberto Cabeza

Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

My laboratory investigates the neural correlates of memory and cognition in young and older adults using fMRI. We have three main lines of research: First, we distinguish the neural correlates of various episodic memory processes. For example, we have compared encoding vs. retrieval, item vs. source memory, recall vs. recognition, true vs. false memory, and emotional vs. nonemotional memory. We are particularly interested in the contribution of prefrontal cortex (PFC) and medial temporal lobe (MTL) subregions and their interactions. Second, we investigate similarities and differences between the neural correlates of episodic memory and other memory and cognitive functions (working, semantic, implicit, and procedural memory; attention; perception, etc.). The main goal of this cross-functional approach is to understand the contributions of brain regions shared by different cognitive functions. Finally, in both episodic memory and cross-function studies, we also examine the effects of healthy and pathological aging. Regarding episodic memory, we have linked processes differentially affected by aging (e.g., item vs. source memory, recall vs. recognition) to the effects of aging on specific PFC and MTL subregions. Regarding cross-function comparisons, we identify age-related changes in activity that are common to various functions. For example, we have found an age-related increase in bilaterality that occurs for many functions (memory, attention, language, perception, and motor) and is associated with functional compensation.


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