Normal aging is associated with greater decline in associative memory relative to item memory due to impaired recollection. Familiarity may also contribute to associative recognition when stimuli are perceived as a 'unitized' representation. Given that familiarity is relatively preserved in older adults, we explored whether age-related associative memory deficits could be attenuated when associations were unitized (i.e., compounds) compared with those non-unitized (i.e., unrelated word pairs). Young and older adults performed an associative recognition task while electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded. Behavioral results showed that age differences were smaller for recognition of compounds than for unrelated word pairs. ERP results indicated that only compounds evoked an early frontal old/new effect in older adults. Moreover, the early frontal old/new effect was positively correlated with associative discrimination accuracy. These findings suggest that reduced age-related associative deficits under unitized condition may be associated with the presence of familiarity-based retrieval of compounds in older adults.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Neurobiology of Learning and Memory|
|State||Published - May 1 2015|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China ( 31070916 , 31271108 and 31470998 ), the Knowledge Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences ( KSCX2-EW-J-8 ), the CAS/SAFEA International Partnership Program for Creative Research Team ( Y2CX131003 ), Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences ( KLMH2014ZK02 ), and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, US National Institutes of Health ( TL1TR00115 ).
© 2015 Elsevier Inc.
- Associative recognition
- Event-related potentials
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience