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Healthy Middle-Aged Adults Have Preserved Mnemonic Discrimination and Integration, While Showing No Detectable Memory Benefits
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI).
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI). Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Statistics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1524-0851
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9512-3289
2022 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 12, article id 797387Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Declarative memory abilities change across adulthood. Semantic memory and autobiographic episodic knowledge can remain stable or even increase from mid- to late adulthood, while episodic memory abilities decline in later adulthood. Although it is well known that prior knowledge influences new learning, it is unclear whether the experiential growth of knowledge and memory traces across the lifespan may drive favorable adaptations in some basic memory processes. We hypothesized that an increased reliance on memory integration may be an adaptive mechanism to handle increased interference from accumulating memory traces and knowledge across adulthood. In turn, this may confer an improved ability for integration, observable in middle-age, before the onset of major aging-related declines. We further tested whether the hypothesized increase would be associated with previously observed reductions in memory discrimination performance in midlife. Data from a sample of healthy middle-aged (40–50 years, n = 40) and younger adults (20–28 years, n = 41) did not support the hypothesis of improved integration, as assessed by an associative inference paradigm. Instead, age-equivalent performance on both integration and discrimination measures were observed [Bayes factors (BFs)10 = 0.19–0.25], along with expected higher verbal knowledge and slower perceptual speed for middle-aged [(BFs)10 = 8.52–73.52]. The results contribute to an increased understanding of memory processing in midlife, an understudied portion of the lifespan, and suggest that two core episodic memory processes, integration and discrimination, can be maintained in healthy middle-aged adults.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2022. Vol. 12, article id 797387
Keywords [en]
episodic memory, healthy aging, memory discrimination, memory integration, midlife
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-192653DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.797387ISI: 000752005500001PubMedID: 35140661Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85124538280OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-192653DiVA, id: diva2:1639442
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P18-0142:1Available from: 2022-02-21 Created: 2022-02-21 Last updated: 2022-02-21Bibliographically approved

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Samrani, GeorgeLundquist, AndersPudas, Sara

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