Poster B91, Sunday, March 26, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Empirical Validation of a Neuropsychological Battery to Assess Frontal Lobe and Medial Temporal Lobe Functioning in Young and Older Adults
Anjali Thapar1, Allen Osman1; 1Bryn Mawr College
Neuropsychological tests sensitive to frontal lobe (FL) and medial temporal lobe (MTL) functioning are often used to characterize individual differences in FL and MTL functioning which, in turn, are used to explain age-related changes in cognition. Typically, high- and low- FL and MTL groups of older adults are compared on a cognitive task to a control group of younger adults. Such comparisons, however, ignore individual differences in FL and MTL functioning that may occur independently of age. To address this problem, the current study evaluated both age-related changes and individual differences in FL and MTL functioning, as well as examined the association between each and memory performance. Three hundred participants (150 young and 150 older adults) completed a test battery that evaluated FL functioning (tasks measuring executive functioning, working memory, and mental control) and MTL functioning (tasks measuring immediate and delayed recall of verbal and visual memory). Participants also completed a yes/no item recognition memory task. Our results indicate that both young and older adult participants can be reliably differentiated into high- and low- FL and MTL groups and that individual differences in MTL functioning but not FL functioning is associated with reliable differences in performance in young and older adult participants on an item recognition test. Equally important, the results show that memory performance was completely explained by individual differences in MTL functioning. These results contribute to our growing understanding of the importance of investigating individual differences in MTL functioning when investigating age-related changes in episodic memory.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Development & aging