Nancy Dennis

Nancy Dennis
Pennsylvania State University | Penn State · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

87
Publications
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Publications

Publications (87)
Preprint
The medial temporal lobe (MTL) is critical to associative memory success. Yet not all types of associations may be processed in a similar manner within MTL subregions. In particular, work suggests that intra- and inter-item associations not only exhibit differences in overall rates of recollection, but also recruit different MTL subregions. Whereas...
Preprint
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Associative memory declines as we age while item memory remains relatively stable. Previous work has shown that, in both younger and older adults, while item recognition declines linearly across time and interference, associative recognition declines only with longer delays and more interference. Unitization is a memory process found to support ass...
Preprint
Associative memory involves the ability to encode and remember the relationship between individual items. This ability can become diminished when there is a high degree of similarity between stimuli that are being learned. Associative memory errors often stem from the fact that lures include a high degree of item familiarity as well as mnemonic sim...
Article
Age-related declines in associative memory are ubiquitous, with decreases in behavioral discriminability largely arising from increases in false memories for recombined lures. Using representational similarity analyses to examine the neural basis of associative false memories in aging, the current study found that neural pattern similarity between...
Preprint
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Researchers have been studying creativity for decades, and yet controversy still surrounds the cognitive basis of creative thought. A longstanding question in the creativity literature concerns the role of memory in creative cognition. Increasing evidence suggests that specific memory systems (e.g., episodic vs. semantic) may support specific creat...
Article
Associative memory requires one to encode and form memory representations not just for individual items, but for the association or link between those items. Past work has suggested that associative memory is facilitated when individual items are familiar rather than simultaneously learning the items and their associative link. The current study em...
Preprint
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Associative memory declines in aging arise, in part, from age-related increases in false memories to recombined lures. Studies have shown that there is a benefit to associative memory if the configural context of associative pairs is maintained from encoding to retrieval. The current study aimed to examine whether this benefit of contextual congrue...
Article
Although forgetting is usually considered a memory error, intentional forgetting can function as an adaptive mechanism. The current study examined the effect of increased processing time on directed forgetting in aging as a mechanism to compensate for age-related forgetting. Specifically, an item-method directed forgetting paradigm was used in conj...
Preprint
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Typical aging is associated with increases in false memory rates among older adults. Such errors are frequently associated with differential neural activity during encoding and retrieval in older compared to younger adults within visual cortices, hippocampus, and front-parietal regions. It remains unknown how pattern similarity reductions relate to...
Article
Healthy aging is accompanied by increased false remembering in addition to reduced successful remembering in older adults. Neuroimaging studies implicate age-related differences in the involvement of medial temporal lobe and fronto-parietal regions in mediating highly confident false recollection. However, no studies have directly examined the rela...
Article
Age-related deficits in associative processing are well-documented (e.g., Naveh-Benjamin, 2000) and have been assumed to be the result of a general deficit that affects all types of binding. However, recent behavioral research has indicated that the visual configuration of the information that is presented to older adults influences the degree to w...
Article
Disrupting the configural context, or relative organization and orientation of paired stimuli, between encoding and retrieval negatively impacts memory. Using univariate and multivariate fMRI analyses, we examined the effect of retaining and manipulating the configural context on neural mechanisms supporting associative retrieval. Behavioral result...
Article
Research investigating statistical learning, the process of tracking regularities in the environment, in older adults has been limited; with existing studies suggesting there are age-related declines. We aim to further understand older adults’ statistical learning abilities using a cross-situational statistical learning paradigm in which learners m...
Article
As individuals age, they experience increased difficulties producing speech, especially with infrequent words. Older adults report that word retrieval difficulties frequently occur and are highly frustrating. However, little is known about how age affects the neural basis of language production. Moreover, age-related increases in brain activation a...
Article
Past research suggests that working memory (WM) and motor control may engage similar cognitive and neural mechanisms in older adults, particularly when task difficulty increases. However, much of this evidence arises from comparisons across behavioral and imaging studies that test only one of the foregoing functional domains. The current study used...
Article
Age-related deficits in associative processing are well-documented (e.g., Naveh-Benjamin, 2000) and have been assumed to be the result of a general deficit that affects all types of binding. However, recent behavioral research has indicated that the visual configuration of the information that is presented to older adults influences the degree to w...
Article
Schemas are abstract mental representations that influence perceptual and memory processes. Schemas can aide memory for information that is related or congruent with a given schema (i.e., schematic information), yet it is unclear how schemas affect memory for information that does not directly relate to the schema (i.e., non-schematic information)....
Article
Full-text available
Older adults' difficulty in distinguishing between old and new information contributes to memory decline, which may occur because older adults are less likely than young adults to retrieve specific sensory details necessary to distinguish between similar items. In male and female human subjects, the present study measured the extent of age differen...
Article
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One of the more severe and consequential memory impairments experienced by older adults is the loss of the ability to form and remember associations. Although the associative deficit is often assumed to be unitary, memory episodes may contain different types of associations (e.g., item–item, item–context). Research in younger adults suggests that t...
Article
Objectives: Useful Field of View training (UFOVt) is an adaptive computerized cognitive intervention that improves visual attention and transfers to maintained health and everyday functioning in older adults. Although its efficacy is well established, the neural mechanisms underlying this intervention are unknown. This pilot study used functional...
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Relative to young adults, older adults typically exhibit a reduced ability to accurately remember associations between stimuli. Prior research has assumed that this age-related memory impairment is mediated by a general associative deficit. However, research in young adults suggests that different neural mechanisms underlie the formation of differe...
Article
Objective: While schemas aid memory for schematically related information, the gist induced by the schema can also lead to high rates of false memories, especially in older adults. The neural mechanisms that support and differentiate true and false memories in aging are not well understood. The current study sought to clarify this, using a novel s...
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Previous work has shown mixed evidence regarding age-related deficits for binding in working memory. The current study used the newly developed attribute amnesia effect (H. Chen & Wyble, 2015a) to test the associative-deficit hypothesis during working memory and to probe whether hyper-binding extends to include binding of de-selected information. I...
Chapter
This chapter reviews the behavioral and neuroimaging literature examining age differences in item and associative memory. Furthermore, when possible the review breaks down differences at the encoding and the retrieval phases of memory. With respect to behavioral findings, age‐related differences in memory performance are discussed in terms of encod...
Article
Full-text available
To better understand neural recollection processing, we induced interference in target recollection by presenting related lures before their respective targets and facilitated recollection rejection of lures by presenting targets before their related lures. Target recollection following interference recruited visual and prefrontal cortices, showing...
Article
Previous false memory research has suggested that older adults' false memories are based on an overreliance on gist processing in the absence of item-specific details. Yet, false memory studies have rarely taken into consideration the precise role of item-item similarity on the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying perceptual false memories in...
Article
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Presenting items multiple times during encoding is a common way to enhance recognition accuracy. Under such conditions, older adults often show an increase in false recognition that counteracts benefits of repeated study. Using a false-memory paradigm with related study items and related lures, we tested whether repetition within the same encoding...
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Successful performance of a memory-guided motor task requires participants to store and then recall an accurate representation of the motor goal. Further, participants must monitor motor output to make adjustments in the absence of visual feedback. The goal of this study was to examine memory-guided grip force in healthy younger and older adults an...
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Although many studies have investigated the consequences of bilingualism on cognitive control, few have examined the impact of bilingualism on other cognitive domains, such as memory. Of these studies, most have focused on item memory and none have examined the role of bilingualism in source memory (i.e., the memory for contextual details from a pr...
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Multivariate functional connectivity analyses of neuroimaging data have revealed the importance of complex, distributed interactions between disparate yet interdependent brain regions. Recent work has shown that topological properties of functional brain networks are associated with individual and group differences in cognitive performance, includi...
Article
Previous memory research has exploited the perceptual similarities between lures and targets in order to evoke false memories. Nevertheless, while some studies have attempted to use lures that are objectively more similar than others, no study has systematically controlled for perceptual overlap between target and lure items and its role in account...
Article
Distinctive encoding is greatly influenced by gist-based processes and has been shown to suffer when highly similar items are presented in close succession. Thus, elucidating the mechanisms underlying how presentation format affects gist processing is essential in determining the factors that influence these encoding processes. The current study ut...
Article
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Recollection rejection or "recall-to-reject" is a mechanism that has been posited to help maintain accurate memory by preventing the occurrence of false memories. Recollection rejection occurs when the presentation of a new item during recognition triggers recall of an associated target, a mismatch in features between the new and old items is regis...
Article
Intentional forgetting is posited to utilize both encoding and inhibition to control what information enters long-term memory. Within the context of the directed forgetting paradigm, evidence for the role of inhibition to support forgetting has been examined primarily during encoding. Specifically, past studies have shown that when encoding process...
Article
Visual aided augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) consists of books or technologies that contain visual symbols to supplement spoken language. A common observation concerning some forms of aided AAC is that message preparation can be frustratingly slow. We explored the uses of fMRI to examine the neural correlates of visual search for l...
Article
Over the last two decades, a wealth of research in the domain of episodic memory has focused on understanding the neural correlates mediating false memories, or memories for events that never happened. While several recent qualitative reviews have attempted to synthesize this literature, methodological differences amongst the empirical studies and...
Data
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Aging is associated with ongoing deterioration of not only the anatomy and physiology of our brain, but our cognitive abilities as well. As our brain shrinks and its functions decline, cognitive processes become slower and start to fail. Deficits in memory function are among the most-heard complaints in older adults, and cognitive research generall...
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Associative memory is considered to be resource-demanding, requiring individuals to learn individual items and the specific relationships between those items. Previous research has shown that prior studying of items aids in associative memory for pairs composed of those same items, as compared to pairs of items that have not been prelearned (e.g.,...
Article
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Successful memory retrieval is predicated not only on recognizing old information, but also on correctly rejecting new information (lures) in order to avoid false memories. Correctly rejecting lures is more difficult when they are perceptually or semantically related to information presented at study as compared to when lures are distinct from prev...
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In recent years bilingualism has been linked to both advantages in executive control and positive impacts on aging. Such positive cognitive effects of bilingualism have been attributed to the increased need for language control during bilingual processing and increased cognitive reserve, respectively. However, a mechanistic explanation of how bilin...
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Past research finds that age-related increases in false recognitions are a key contributor to age-related memory decline, suggesting that older adults have difficulty correctly distinguishing between new and old information, particularly when new items at retrieval are semantically or perceptually related to items from encoding. However, little wor...
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While traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in widespread disruption of neural networks, changes in regional resting-state functional connectivity patterns after insult remain unclear. Specifically, little is known about the chronology of emergent connectivity alterations and whether they persist after a critical recovery window. We used resting-sta...
Article
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Successful memory encoding depends on the ability to intentionally encode relevant information (via differential encoding) and intentionally forget that which is irrelevant (via inhibition). Both cognitive processes have been shown to decline in aging and are theorized to underlie age-related deficits in the cognitive control of memory. The current...
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The current study investigated the effects of aging on the neural basis underlying true and false recollection. Although older adults, compared with younger adults, exhibited equivalent rates of true recollection, age differences in true recollection showed a pattern of activity commonly found among previous memory studies (e.g., age-related decrea...
Article
The ability to control how we process information by remembering which is important and forgetting which is irrelevant is essential to maintain accurate, up-to-date memories. As such, memory success is predicated on both successful intentional encoding and successful intentional forgetting. The current study used an item-method directed forgetting...
Article
Recent advances in fMRI methodology have allowed researchers to examine age-related neural differences underlying episodic memory from both a quantitative and network level approach. Specifically, BOLD (blood-oxygen-level-dependent) contrasts have observed age-related decreases and increases in overall neural activation. Regarding increases, the pa...
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People can acquire both true and false knowledge about the world from fictional stories. The present study explored whether the benefits and costs of learning about the world from fictional stories extend beyond memory for directly stated pieces of information. Of interest was whether readers would use correct and incorrect story references to make...
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Although research suggests that most false memories are mediated by a sense of familiarity, behavioral evidence indicates that some are characterized by retrieval of item-specific details associated with recollection. However, neuroimaging studies have yet to isolate and analyze the neural correlates of false (or phantom) recollection, focusing ins...
Article
Abundant research finds that in young adults explicit learning (EL) is more dependent on the medial temporal lobes (MTL) whereas implicit learning (IL) is more dependent on the striatum. Using fMRI, we investigated age differences in each task and whether this differentiation is preserved in older adults. Results indicated that, while young recruit...
Article
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a neurotrophin which has been shown to regulate cell survival and proliferation, as well as synaptic growth and hippocampal long-term potentiation. A naturally occurring single nucleotide polymorphism in the human BDNF gene (val66met) has been associated with altered intercellular trafficking and regulate...
Article
Task switching requires executive control processes that undergo age-related decline. Previous neuroimaging studies have identified age-related differences in brain activation associated with global switching effects (dual-task blocks versus single-task blocks), but age-related differences in activation during local switching effects (switch trials...
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Full-text available
Background: We sought to determine if the APOE 34 allele influences both the functional activation and connectivity of the medial temporal lobes (MTLs) during successful memory encoding in young adults. Methods: Twenty-four healthy young adults, i.e., 12 carriers and 12 noncarriers of the APOE 34 allele, were scanned in a subsequent-memory paradigm...
Article
Among the most fundamental issues in cognitive neuroscience is how the brain may be organized into process-specific and stimulus-specific regions. In the episodic memory domain, most functional neuroimaging studies have focused on the former dimension, typically investigating the neural correlates of various memory processes. Thus, there is little...
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We sought to determine if the APOE epsilon4 allele influences both the functional activation and connectivity of the medial temporal lobes (MTLs) during successful memory encoding in young adults. Twenty-four healthy young adults, i.e., 12 carriers and 12 noncarriers of the APOE epsilon4 allele, were scanned in a subsequent-memory paradigm, using e...
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The relationship between cognition and a functional polymorphism in the catechol-O-methlytransferase (COMT) gene, val108/158met, is one of debate in the literature. Furthermore, based on the dopaminergic differences associated with the COMT val108/158met genotype, neural differences during cognition may be present, regardless of genotypic differenc...
Article
Aging is associated with significant white matter deterioration and this deterioration is assumed to be at least partly a consequence of myelin degeneration. The present study investigated specific predictions of the myelodegeneration hypothesis using diffusion tensor tractography. This technique has several advantages over other methods of assessi...
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The ventral part of lateral posterior parietal cortex (VPC) and the posterior midline region (PMR), including the posterior cingulate cortex and precuneus, tend to show deactivation during demanding cognitive tasks, and have been associated with the default mode of the brain. Interestingly, PMR and VPC activity has been associated with successful e...
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Knowledge of sequential relationships enables future events to be anticipated and processed efficiently. Research with the serial reaction time task (SRTT) has shown that sequence learning often occurs implicitly without effort or awareness. Here, the authors report 4 experiments that use a triplet-learning task (TLT) to investigate sequence learni...
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Compared to young adults, older adults show not only a reduction in true memories but also an increase in false memories. We investigated the neural bases of these age effects using functional magnetic resonance imaging and a false memory task that resembles the Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm. Young and older participants were scanned duri...
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To investigate the neural basis of age-related source memory (SM) deficits, young and older adults were scanned with fMRI while encoding faces, scenes, and face-scene pairs. Successful encoding activity was identified by comparing encoding activity for subsequently remembered versus forgotten items or pairs. Age deficits in successful encoding acti...
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Previous research has established that age-related decline occurs in measures of cerebral white matter integrity, but the role of this decline in age-related cognitive changes is not clear. To conclude that white matter integrity has a mediating (causal) contribution, it is necessary to demonstrate that statistical control of the white matter-cogni...
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A consistent finding from functional neuroimaging studies of cognitive aging is an age-related reduction in occipital activity coupled with increased frontal activity. This posterior-anterior shift in aging (PASA) has been typically attributed to functional compensation. The present functional magnetic resonance imaging sought to 1) confirm that PA...
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We investigated whether there is an age-related decline in implicit learning of an invariant association. Participants memorized letter strings in which a given letter always occurred in the second position (see Frick & Lee, 1995). Experiments 1 and 2 showed that young and older adults learned this regularity implicitly, with no significant age dif...