Age-related neural changes in autobiographical remembering and imagining

Department of Psychology, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
Neuropsychologia (Impact Factor: 3.3). 09/2011; 49(13):3656-69. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.09.021
Source: PubMed


Numerous neuroimaging studies have revealed that in young adults, remembering the past and imagining the future engage a common core network. Although it has been observed that older adults engage a similar network during these tasks, it is unclear whether or not they activate this network in a similar manner to young adults. Young and older participants completed two autobiographical tasks (imagining future events and recalling past events) in addition to a semantic-visuospatial control task. Spatiotemporal Partial Least Squares analyses examined whole brain patterns of activity across both the construction and elaboration of autobiographical events. These analyses revealed that that both age groups activated a similar network during the autobiographical tasks. However, some key age-related differences in the activation of this network emerged. During the construction of autobiographical events, older adults showed less activation relative to younger adults, in regions supporting episodic detail such as the medial temporal lobes and the precuneus. Later in the trial, older adults showed differential recruitment of medial and lateral temporal regions supporting the elaboration of autobiographical events, and possibly reflecting an increased role of conceptual information when older adults describe their pasts and their futures.

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Article: Age-related neural changes in autobiographical remembering and imagining

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    • "During the pre-scanning interview, exclusion and inclusion criteria were verified by means of a clinical exam and psychometric tests, followed by neuropsychological tests and the TIQ. The aim of this questionnaire (Sperduti et al., 2013; Martinelli et al., 2013b) was to collect information in order to create personalized cues for each participant without directly asking them to describe past memories to avoid re-encoding of memories (Viard et al., 2007; Addis et al., 2011). Participants were informed that the purpose of the questionnaire was to obtain a description of their personality thanks to information about their principal life interests excluding the last 5 years. "
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    ABSTRACT: Self-referential processing relies mainly on the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and enhances memory encoding (i.e., Self-Reference Effect, SRE) as it improves the accuracy and richness of remembering in both young and older adults. However, studies on age-related changes in the neural correlates of the SRE on the subjective (i.e., autonoetic consciousness) and the objective (i.e., source memory) qualitative features of episodic memory are lacking. In the present fMRI study, we compared the effects of a self-related (semantic autobiographical memory task) and a non self-related (general semantic memory task) encoding condition on subsequent episodic memory retrieval. We investigated encoding-related activity during each condition in two groups of 19 younger and 16 older adults. Behaviorally, the SRE improved subjective memory performance in both groups but objective memory only in young adults. At the neural level, a direct comparison between self-related and non self-related conditions revealed that SRE mainly activated the cortical midline system, especially the MPFC, in both groups. Additionally, in older adults and regardless of the condition, greater activity was found in a fronto-parietal network. Overall, correlations were noted between source memory performance and activity in the MPFC (irrespective of age) and visual areas (mediated by age). Thus, the present findings expand evidence of the role of the MPFC in self-referential processing in the context of source memory benefit in both young and older adults using incidental encoding via semantic autobiographical memory. However, our finding suggests that its role is less effective in aging.
    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 01/2015; DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00449 · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    • "Given the role of episodic processes on a range of cognitive tasks, in the current study older and young adult participants completed a MEPS problem-solving task and AI-based memory and imagination tasks after receiving an episodic specificity induction that targeted these processes or a control induction. As done previously (e.g., Addis et al., 2008; Sheldon et al., 2011), performance on the MEPS task was measured via standardized step scoring (i.e., relevant, irrelevant, and no step) and detail scoring (i.e., internal and external), and performance on the AIbased memory and imagination tasks was measured via detail scoring (i.e., internal and external). Our initial predictions are age-related. "
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    ABSTRACT: Episodic memory plays an important role not only in remembering past experiences, but also in constructing simulations of future experiences and solving means-end social problems. We recently found that an episodic specificity induction-brief training in recollecting details of past experiences-enhances performance of young and older adults on memory and imagination tasks. Here we tested the hypothesis that this specificity induction would also positively impact a means-end problem-solving task on which age-related changes have been linked to impaired episodic memory. Young and older adults received the specificity induction or a control induction before completing a means-end problem-solving task, as well as memory and imagination tasks. Consistent with previous findings, older adults provided fewer relevant steps on problem solving than did young adults, and their responses also contained fewer internal (i.e., episodic) details across the 3 tasks. There was no difference in the number of other (e.g., irrelevant) steps on problem solving or external (i.e., semantic) details generated on the 3 tasks as a function of age. Critically, the specificity induction increased the number of relevant steps and internal details (but not other steps or external details) that both young and older adults generated in problem solving compared with the control induction, as well as the number of internal details (but not external details) generated for memory and imagination. Our findings support the idea that episodic retrieval processes are involved in means-end problem solving, extend the range of tasks on which a specificity induction targets these processes, and show that the problem-solving performance of older adults can benefit from a specificity induction as much as that of young adults. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
    Psychology and Aging 11/2014; 29(4). DOI:10.1037/a0038209 · 2.73 Impact Factor
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    • "In contrast to younger adults, older adults tended to report a stronger recollective experience (Janssen et al., 2011) and take relatively more time to gain access to the target events (Addis et al., 2011; St Jacques et al., 2012). Functional neuroimaging studies investigate ng autobiographical memory under normal aging have observed increased activity in the hippocampus, parietal and occipital cortex during autobiographical memory recollection (Maguire and Frith, 2003; Donix et al., 2010), reduced activation in the prefrontal cortex and reduced coupling between the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and hippocampus during search and elaboration phases of autobiographical memory retrieval (St Jacques et al., 2012), and decreased activity in the medial temporal lobes and precuneus during the construction of autobiographical events (Addis et al., 2011; St-Laurent et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Normal aging has been shown to modulate the neural underpinnings of autobiographical memory and emotion processing. Moreover, previous researches have suggested that aging produces a "positivity effect" in autobiographical memory. Although a few imaging studies have investigated the neural mechanism of the positivity effect, the neural substrates underlying the positivity effect in emotional autobiographical memory is unclear. To understand the age-related neural changes in emotional autobiographical memory that underlie the positivity effect, the present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study used the independent component analysis (ICA) method to compare brain networks in younger and older adults as they retrieved positive and negative autobiographical events. Compared to their younger counterparts, older adults reported relatively higher positive feelings when retrieving emotional autobiographical events. Imaging data indicated an age-related reversal within the ventromedial prefrontal/anterior cingulate cortex (VMPFC/ACC) and the left amygdala of the brain networks that were engaged in the retrieval of autobiographical events with different valence. The retrieval of negative events compared to positive events induced stronger activity in the VMPFC/ACC and weaker activity in the amygdala for the older adults, whereas the younger adults showed a reversed pattern. Moreover, activity in the VMPFC/ACC within the task-related networks showed a negative correlation with the emotional valence intensity. These results may suggest that the positivity effect in older adults' autobiographical memories is potentially due to age-related changes in controlled emotional processing implemented by the VMPFC/ACC-amygdala circuit.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 08/2014; 8:629. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00629 · 3.63 Impact Factor
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