Poster E81, Monday, March 27, 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Pacific Concourse
To The Neural Mechanism Supporting Episodic Retrieval is Sensitive to the Quality of Information in both Younger and Older Adults.
Jamie Murray1, David Donaldson1; 1University of Stirling
Our ability to successfully retrieve episodic memories (i.e., memory for events) is diminished with healthy ageing. Much of what we know about age-related memory decline, however, is limited by measurement methods that simply probe whether retrieval was successful or not. Memory, however, not only grants us access to past experiences but also provides us with rich qualitative information that can vary with precision. To date, it is unclear whether healthy ageing simply diminishes one’s ability to successfully recollect or whether ageing also affects the quality of retrieved information. Here, we employed Event Related Potentials (ERPs) to assess whether the neural mechanisms that support retrieval in younger and older adults are sensitive to the quality of retrieval. A continuous source task was employed, requiring participants to remember words paired with a location marked around a circle, allowing trials to be subsequently separated according to the level of source precision (i.e., the radial distance between the target location and the remembered location). Behaviourally, our results revealed that both the rate and precision of retrieval are reduced by healthy ageing. Importantly, the neural correlate of retrieval (i.e., the parietal retrieval success effect) is sensitive to the quality of information in both age groups but is significantly reduced in magnitude for older adults. The observed data strongly suggests that our understanding of age-related memory decline can be advanced by accounting for both the quantity and quality of retrieval success.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic