The Effects of Healthy Aging on Recollection and Familiarity Components of Recognition Memory and Frontal Lobe Function
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May, Michelle F M
According to the dual-process hypothesis of memory and aging (DPHMA), aging is associated with a decline in recollection efficiency and a relative stability in familiarity based mechanisms. The current study was carried out to look at the relationship between aging, dorsolateral (DL) and ventromedial (VM) frontal lobe function, and any effects on familiarity and recollection estimates in recognition memory. The effects of age on a nonverbal recognition memory task were investigated, using 120 black and white photographs of buildings as the stimuli. Estimates of familiarity and recollection were determined using the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) method. The self-ordered pointing task (SOPT) was used to tap the dorsolateral prefrontal region, and ‘The Awareness of Social Inference Test’ (TASIT) was used to tap the ventromedial prefrontal region. The SOPT is an executive cognitive function task that requires the participant to organize, process, and monitor a self-selected sequence of responses. The TASIT is a dynamic social test that was split into 2 sections, the first was a test of basic emotion identification, and the second was a theory of mind task. The younger group performed significantly better than the older group on the recognition memory task. The older group were impaired in recollection but age did not significantly affect the familiarity estimates, supporting the DPHMA. The older participants were significantly impaired on the SOPT and TASIT. The results support the DPHMA. Correlations suggest a link between familiarity and frontal lobe function, but it is unlikely that there is an association between recollection and frontal lobe function.