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Associative memory in ageing: Changes in anticipatory brain activity

Xia, J; (2016) Associative memory in ageing: Changes in anticipatory brain activity. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Older adults are impaired in the ability to remember, especially for the associations across different elements of an event. It has been shown that during both memory encoding and retrieval, brain activities in anticipation to an upcoming event can influence memory for that event. To explore the role of the anticipatory brain activity in associative memory processing and how it may be affected by ageing, three electroencephalography (EEG) experiments were performed with both younger and older participants. Analyses were conducted in both ERP and time-frequency domains. Experiment 1 demonstrated that unlike older adults, younger adults were able to engage encoding-related anticipatory neural mechanisms before encountering any to-be-remembered information. During retrieval, however, older adults showed a pronounced ERP anticipatory effect for associative retrieval that was not seen in younger adults. Experiment 2 provided evidence suggesting that age-related differences in anticipatory associative memory effects were due, at least partly, to inefficient encoding as a consequence of diminished processing resources in older adults. Experiment 3 further revealed that when participants switched between words and pictures in an associative recognition task, only younger adults engaged anticipatory encoding-related activity, and they were more likely to recruit material-selective anticipatory mechanisms. Older adults were able to recruit anticipatory mechanisms during retrieval but not during encoding. In conclusion, older adults are impaired in anticipatory activity for associative encoding, but they are able to recruit anticipatory neural mechanisms at retrieval possibly to compensate for poor associative encoding. Compared to younger adults, however, they are less able to recruit these mechanisms flexibly in a goal-directed manner. The present findings advance the understanding of neural mechanisms of associative memory deficits in ageing, which may open new doors for cognitive training in ageing by targeting these mechanisms.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Associative memory in ageing: Changes in anticipatory brain activity
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: episodic memory, associative memory, prestimulus activity, ageing, EEG, ERP, oscillation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1474760
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