Figural memory performance and functional magnetic resonance imaging activity across the adult lifespan

Sharna Jamadar, Michal Assaf, Kanchana Jagannathan, Karen E Anderson, Godfrey D Pearlson

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7 Citations (Scopus)


We examined performance and functional magnetic resonance imaging activity in participants (n = 235) aged 17–81 years on a nonverbal recognition memory task, figural memory. Reaction time, error rate, and response bias measures indicated that the youngest and oldest participants were faster, made fewer errors, and showed a more conservative response bias than participants in the median age ranges. Encoding and Recognition phases activated a distributed bilateral network encompassing prefrontal, subcortical, lateral, and medial temporal and occipital regions. Activation during Encoding phase did not correlate with age. During Recognition, task-related activation for correctly identified targets (Hit-Targets) correlated linearly positively with age; nontask related activity correlated negative quadratically with age. During correctly identified distractors (Hit-Distractors) activity in task-related regions correlated positive linearly with age, nontask activity showed positive and negative quadratic relationships with age. Missed-Targets activity did not correlate with age. We concluded that figural memory performance and functional magnetic resonance imaging activity during Recognition but not Encoding was affected both by continued maturation of the brain in the early 20s and compensatory recruitment of additional brain regions during recognition memory in old age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110 - 127
Number of pages18
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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