Poster A58, Saturday, March 24, 1:30–3:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
The neurocognitive effects of digital memory augmentation
Chris B. Martin1, Bryan Hong1, Andrew Xia1, Christopher J. Honey2, Morgan D. Barense1,3; 1University of Toronto, 2Johns Hopkins University, 3Rotman Research Institute
Digital memory augmentation (DMA) is a promising approach to mitigate age-related memory impairments. In DMA, portable devices are used to capture information about everyday episodes, making them available for later review. Previous research has shown that DMA can produce substantial autobiographical memory benefits across cognitively healthy and impaired individuals. For the purpose of the current study, we developed a novel, smartphone-based DMA application that allowed participants (64+ years of age) to create and replay rich digital memories during their daily lives. In contrast to extant DMA technology, however, our application supported replay in a manner that was distributed both within and across days. Using a within-subjects design, digital memories were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: replayed or hidden. Content in the replayed condition was replayed by participants multiple times each day, whereas digital memories in the hidden condition were never replayed. We assessed autobiographical memory for real-world episodes in each condition using a cued-recall test that was administered after 7 and again after 14 days of use. Application use was discontinued after the second behavioural assessment, and fMRI was used after a one-week delay to probe for differences in neural representations related to previously replayed and hidden autobiographical events. Our results revealed that distributed replay significantly boosted recall of event-specific episodic details, and that previously replayed digital memories were associated with distinct patterns of fMRI activation. Taken together, these findings provide novel insight into the neurocognitive effects of DMA, and highlight the real-world value of translational memory research.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic