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Both younger and older adults prioritize reward-associated stimuli in memory, but there has been little research on possible age differences in the neural mechanisms mediating this effect. In the present study, we examine neural activation and functional connectivity in healthy younger and older adults to test the hypothesis that older adults would engage prefrontal regions to a greater extent in the service of reward-enhanced memory. While undergoing MRI, target stimuli were presented after high- or low-reward cues. The cues indicated the reward value for successfully recognizing the stimulus on a memory test 24 hours later. We replicated prior findings that both older and younger adults had better memory for high- compared to low-reward stimuli. Critically, in older but not younger adults, this enhanced subsequent memory for high-reward items was supported by greater connectivity between the caudate and bilateral inferior frontal gyrus. The findings add to the growing literature on motivation-cognition interactions in healthy aging and provide novel findings of the neural underpinnings of reward-motivated encoding.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Neurobiology of aging
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Type of declarative memory, consisting of personal memory in contrast to general knowledge.
The tendency to devalue an outcome as a function of its temporal delay or probability of achievement. It can be evaluated in a psychological paradigm that involves the choice between receiving a smaller immediate reward or a larger delayed reward, and may be used to provide a measure of impulsive behavior.
Any situation where an animal or human is trained to respond differentially to two stimuli (e.g., approach and avoidance) under reward and punishment conditions and subsequently trained under reversed reward values (i.e., the approach which was previously rewarded is punished and vice versa).
A neuropsychological test designed to assess different memory functions. It may incorporate an optional cognitive exam (Brief Cognitive Status Exam) that helps to assess memory related cognitive function.
Neurological process involving the conversion of learned information into long-term memory.
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