Journal article:
Effects of semantic relatedness on age-related associative memory deficits : the role of theta oscillations

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July 2012
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Cantero, Jose L.
Atienza, Mercedes
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Abstract
Growing evidence suggests that age-related deficits in associative memory are alleviated when the to-be-associated items are semantically related. Here we investigate whether this beneficial effect of semantic relatedness is paralleled by spatio-temporal changes in cortical EEG dynamics during incidental encoding. Young and older adults were presented with faces at a particular spatial location preceded by a biographical cue that was either semantically related or unrelated. As expected, automatic encoding of face-location associations benefited from semantic relatedness in the two groups of age. This effect correlated with increased power of theta oscillations over medial and anterior lateral regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and lateral regions of the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) in both groups. But better-performing elders also showed increased brain-behavior correlation in the theta band over the right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) as compared to young adults. Semantic relatedness was, however, insufficient to fully eliminate age-related differences in associative memory. In line with this finding, poorer-performing elders relative to young adults showed significant reductions of theta power in the left IFG that were further predictive of behavioral impairment in the recognition task. All together, these results suggest that older adults benefit less than young adults from executive processes during encoding mainly due to neural inefficiency over regions of the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC). But this associative deficit may be partially compensated for by engaging preexistent semantic knowledge, which likely leads to an efficient recruitment of attentional and integration processes supported by the left PPC and left anterior PFC respectively, together with neural compensatory mechanisms governed by the right VLPFC.
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Subject (DDC)
150 Psychology
Keywords
Aging; Associative memory; Theta oscillations; Neural inefficiency; Neural compensation
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NeuroImage ; 61 (2012), 4. - pp. 1235-1248. - ISSN 1053-8119. - eISSN 1095-9572
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Cite This
ISO 690CRESPO-GARCÍA, Maité, Jose L. CANTERO, Mercedes ATIENZA, 2012. Effects of semantic relatedness on age-related associative memory deficits : the role of theta oscillations. In: NeuroImage. 61(4), pp. 1235-1248. ISSN 1053-8119. eISSN 1095-9572. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.03.034
BibTex
@article{CrespoGarcia2012-07Effec-35026,
  year={2012},
  doi={10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.03.034},
  title={Effects of semantic relatedness on age-related associative memory deficits : the role of theta oscillations},
  number={4},
  volume={61},
  issn={1053-8119},
  journal={NeuroImage},
  pages={1235--1248},
  author={Crespo-García, Maité and Cantero, Jose L. and Atienza, Mercedes}
}
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