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Poster B133

Age-Related Differences in Memory Encoding: The Impact of Schematic Knowledge

Poster Session B - Sunday, April 14, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Shenyang Huang1 (, Kirsten Gillette1, Cortney Howard1, Lifu Deng2, Simon Davis1, Roberto Cabeza1; 1Duke University, 2Cleveland Clinic

Schema, or prior contextual knowledge, facilitates subsequent perception, interpretation, and memory of associated items. Behavioral studies have found memory benefits for objects that are either highly schema-congruent (e.g., office – stapler) or highly schema-incongruent (e.g., kitchen – basketball). Neurocognitive theories attribute schema-related effects on memory to the interaction between the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and medial temporal lobe (MTL), predicting increased mPFC activity but decreased MTL activity with increased congruence. However, less is known about how memory encoding in the presence of schema differs between healthy older adults (OAs) and younger adults (YAs). Given reduced perceptual acuity but enhanced crystallized world knowledge, OAs may rely more on schematic information to remember objects, thereby showing larger congruency-related differences in mPFC-MTL connections than YAs. We designed an fMRI study where YAs (n=35) and OAs (n=30) encoded 114 pairs of a real-world scene and an object, and performed an old/new object recognition test one day later. Comparing hit rates for objects in congruent, neutral, or incongruent pairs, we found that OAs show a congruence-related improvement whereas YAs show an incongruence-related deficit. Univariate activity in the mPFC shows a congruency-related main effect in the expected direction, while there was a congruency-by-memory interaction in parahippocampal cortex activity for OAs. Finally, hippocampal functional connectivity patterns with the mPFC and occipitotemporal regions showed novel age-related shifts in the contributions of schematic and perceptual information for successful memory encoding. Collectively, these results broaden our understanding of age-related changes in memory encoding in context.

Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic


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April 13–16  |  2024