Poster Session C, Sunday, March 24, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Age differences in the neural underpinnings of voluntary vs involuntary memory retrieval.
Sarah E. Henderson1, Jessica Callegari1, James A. Desjardins1, Sidney J. Segalowitz1, Karen L. Campbell1; 1Brock University
Voluntary episodic memory relies on intentional controlled retrieval, while involuntary episodic memory comes to mind automatically. Consistent with findings of reduced executive control with age, recent work suggests that voluntary memory declines with age while involuntary memory is relatively preserved (Berntsen et al., 2017). However, the neurophysiology underlying these age differences has yet to be established. The current study used EEG to test 31 young and 34 older adults during voluntary vs involuntary retrieval (manipulated between-subjects). Participants first encoded sounds, paired and unpaired with pictures, during an initial behavioural session. EEG was then recorded as they listened to the sounds, with participants in the involuntary group deciding in which ear the sound was loudest, and those in the voluntary group additionally attempting to recall the associated pictures. Participants later listened to the sounds again and indicated if they had remembered the associated pictures during the sound task. Older adults said they remembered as many pictures as young adults (with no effect of voluntariness), but their objective memory was lower on a final cued recall test. ERP data suggest that the intention to retrieve shifts the entire processing function forward in time (as early as 100ms post-stimulus onset), while aging relates to a cumulative delay in processing. Only older adults in the involuntary condition and young adults in the voluntary condition showed neural markers of successful retrieval. The findings suggest that involuntary memory may be better preserved with age than voluntary memory and the intention to retrieve affects early cue processing.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Development & aging