Poster C10, Sunday, March 25, 1:00-3:00 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Differential neural activity for self-referentially processed objects in older and younger adults
Ryan T. Daley1, Holly J. Bowen1, Katelyn R. Parisi1,2, Elizabeth A. Kensinger1, Angela H. Gutchess2; 1Boston College, 2Brandeis University
The self-referencing effect (SRE), or relating information to the self at the time of encoding, is known to be a helpful strategy for memory retrieval in older and younger adults (Gutchess, Kensinger, Yoon, & Schacter, 2007). Literature surrounding the SRE primarily examines memory for personality traits, asking participants explicitly to encode stimuli in relation to themselves or to others. Because adjectives may be implicitly valenced and evaluative, here we instead asked participants to imagine explicitly emotional and neutral objects in their house or yard or in a stranger’s house or yard. We sought to determine whether we could replicate the SRE for younger and older adults using this design and to examine the neural activity corresponding with the SRE. Participants performed the encoding task while undergoing a functional magnetic resonance imaging scan and completed an unexpected recognition test outside the scanner. Results suggest overall age-consistency in the regions active during the SRE. Although older adults recruited more regions to process self-related objects compared to young adults, these regions did not appear to be associated with successful encoding of self-related objects. It is possible that age differences during self-referential processing may reflect stronger self-schemas in older adults compared to younger adults.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Development & aging