Visual integration of objects and scenes increases recollection-based responding despite differential MTL recruitment in young and older adults

Molly Memel, T Lee Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Unitization, the process of encoding previously independent units as one coherent representation, improves associative memory in both young and older adults, or in some cases, differentially benefits older adults. Unitization of verbal associative pairs may reduce reliance on the hippocampus (HC) for successful encoding and recognition by shifting to familiarity-based processing mediated by perirhinal cortex (PRC). However, this shift was not observed in a recent study of visual associative memory, with equivalent activation in HC and PRC during encoding of visually integrated (unitized) and nonintegrated object and scene pairs. Furthermore, behavioral findings from this study suggested an increase in recollection rather than familiarity during recognition of visually integrated pairs. The present study extends our previous work by focusing on the influence of visual integration on fMRI activation during associative recognition, rather than encoding and these patterns between young and older adults. In contrast to our findings from encoding, visual integration reduced HC and PRC activation during retrieval of object and scene associative pairs across both age groups. However, visual integration increased the correlation between bilateral HC and left parahippocampal (PHC) activation and behavioral performance among older adults, consistent with an increased reliance on recollection. In contrast, visual integration reduced the correlation between HC activation and behavioral performance in young adults, more consistent with findings from the verbal unitization literature. Taken together, these results suggest that associative memory for visually integrated pairs may involve differential recruitment of medial temporal regions in young and older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHippocampus
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • aging
  • associative memory
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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