Poster Session C, Sunday, March 24, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Predictors of individual differences in recognition memory in healthy ageing
Helena Gellersen1, Ben G. Farrar1, Alexandra N. Trelle2, Richard N. Henson1, Jon S. Simons1; 1University of Cambridge, 2Stanford University
This study investigated individual differences in recognition memory of perceptually similar objects in healthy ageing. We teased apart the contributions of strategic retrieval processes and representational quality by contrasting Forced Choice (FC) and Yes/No (YN) recognition memory tasks, where the latter places higher demands on strategic retrieval. 110 older and 55 young adults performed object recognition memory tests, neuropsychological tests measuring executive functioning (EF; as proxy for strategic retrieval abilities), and object and scene perceptual discrimination tasks with low and high feature overlap (as proxy for representational quality). Older adults performed worse on both high ambiguity discrimination tasks and had lower scores on both memory tasks. FC and YN scores were entered into two multivariate regression models with age, MoCA score, and low-level perceptual ability as control variables and scores on EF and high ambiguity scene and object discrimination as predictors of interest. YN scores were best explained by a model containing age and EF, while FC scores were additionally predicted by high ambiguity object discrimination. Even when controlling for both FC scores and age in the YN model, EF still emerged as a significant predictor. In conclusion, decline in strategic retrieval processes and representational quality are two major factors underlying age-related memory decline. Their relative contributions depend on task demands, with high representational quality being insufficient to achieve accurate performance when demand for strategic retrieval increases. Future directions include manual segmentation of MTL subregions to elucidate the association between grey matter volume and performance in these cognitive tasks.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Development & aging