Age effects on brain activity during repetition priming of targets and distracters

Adam L. Lawson, Chunyan Guo, Yang Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The effects of age on repetition priming and how such differences were related to intentional learning and working memory status were examined. Fourteen older (age 65-75) and 14 younger (age 18-28) healthy adults performed a modified delayed match-to-sample task consisting of a target object held in mind followed by nine test objects. Sixty four-channel EEGs were recorded as participants indicated whether each test object was the same or different from the target object. Half of all target and distractor objects were intentionally studied prior to the task, and both target and distractor objects were repeatedly presented up to four times in each trial. Although both age groups showed repetition priming effects, speed increases due to repetition were more enhanced for elderly. ERP repetition effects for both younger and older adults were indexed via early (200-550) and late (550-850 ms) components. The early repetition effect was affected by whether a distractor was previously studied or not for younger but not for older adults. In contrast, the late repetition effect was not affected by prior intentional learning, and a marginal age effect suggested that repetitions of distractors likely affected older and younger adults differently. These findings suggest that at least two distinguishable repetition mechanisms differentially affect adult aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1223-1231
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The present study was supported by a pilot grant as part of NIH grant P50 AG05144-21, and NIH grant AG00986 to Y.J., Chinese Ministry of Education grant 20040028001, Ministry of Science and Technology grant 95-special-09, and National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30170322, 30570603) to C.G.


  • Adult aging
  • Evoked potentials
  • Implicit memory
  • Prior learning
  • Repetition priming
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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