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Neurobiol Aging. 2014 Feb;35(2):395-407. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2013.08.019. Epub 2013 Oct 1.

Age-related differences in the neural correlates mediating false recollection.

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Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA. Electronic address:


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 decreases in occipital and increases in prefrontal cortices), suggesting reduced retrieval of perceptual details associated with encoding items and a greater reliance on top-down compensatory processing. With regard to false recollection, older adults exhibited significantly greater false recollection yet did not exhibit increased neural processing. They did exhibit decreased activity in prefrontal, parahippocampal gyrus, and occipitoparietal cortex, suggesting a reduced reliance on reconstruction processes mediating false recollection in young. An individual differences analysis in older adults found false recollection rates predicted activity in several regions. including bilateral middle/superior temporal gyrus. Taken together, these results indicate that increases in false recollection in aging may be mediated by reduced access to encoding-related details as well as reliance on semantic gist and familiarity-related neural activity.


Aging; Episodic memory; False memory; Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); Fuzzy trace theory

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