Poster C86, Sunday, March 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Fixation reinstatement supports visuospatial memory in older adults: An eye movement compensation effect.
Jordana Wynn1,2, Rosanna Olsen2, Malcolm Binns2, Bradley Buchsbaum1,2, Jennifer Ryan1,2; 1Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, 2Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Hospital
Research suggests that older adults can compensate for age-related cognitive deficits by over-recruiting cognitive and/or neural resources relative to younger adults. Yet, it remains unclear whether compensatory activity extends to other domains. In the present study, we investigated whether recapitulation of encoding fixations during memory maintenance, an effect that has been previously linked to memory retrieval in younger adults, can support performance on a visuospatial-memory-based change detection task in older adults. Consistent with theories of compensation, older adults showed greater reinstatement of encoding fixations during a post-study, stimulus-free delay period than younger adults, and this reinstatement supported age-equivalent behavioral performance. Fixation reinstatement also correlated with performance in younger adults, but only when memory loads were high. The present findings provide novel evidence of compensatory fixation reinstatement in older adults and advance a critical role for eye-movement-monitoring in aging and memory research.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Development & aging