Memory's aging echo: age-related decline in neural reactivation of perceptual details during recollection.

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Episodic memory decline is a hallmark of normal cognitive aging. Here, we report the first event-related fMRI study to directly investigate age differences in the neural reactivation of qualitatively rich perceptual details during recollection. Younger and older adults studied pictures of complex scenes at different presentation durations along with descriptive verbal labels, and these labels subsequently were used during fMRI scanning to cue picture recollections of varying perceptual detail. As expected from prior behavioral work, the two age groups subjectively rated their recollections as containing similar amounts of perceptual detail, despite objectively measured recollection impairment in older adults. In both age groups, comparisons of retrieval trials that varied in recollected detail revealed robust activity in brain regions previously linked to recollection, including hippocampus and both medial and lateral regions of the prefrontal and posterior parietal cortex. Critically, this analysis also revealed recollection-related activity in visual processing regions that were active in an independent picture-perception task, and these regions showed age-related reductions in activity during recollection that cannot be attributed to age differences in response criteria. These fMRI findings provide new evidence that aging reduces the absolute quantity of perceptual details that are reactivated from memory, and they help to explain why aging reduces the reliability of subjective memory judgments.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • NeuroImage  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Aging, Episodic memory, Reactivation, Recollection, fMRI, Adult, Age Factors, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Aging, Brain, Cues, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Memory, Episodic, Mental Recall, Visual Perception, Young Adult
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • McDonough IM; Cervantes SN; Gray SJ; Gallo DA
  • Start Page

  • 346
  • End Page

  • 358
  • Volume

  • 98