Neural Processes Supporting Young and Older Adults' Emotional Memories

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Neural Processes Supporting Young and Older Adults' Emotional Memories

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Title: Neural Processes Supporting Young and Older Adults' Emotional Memories
Author: Schacter, Daniel; Kensinger, Elizabeth A.

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Citation: Kensinger, Elizabeth A., and Daniel L. Schacter. 2008. Neural processes supporting young and older adults' emotional memories. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 20, no. 7: 1161-1173.
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Abstract: Young and older adults are more likely to remember emotional information than neutral information. The present functional magnetic resonance imaging study examined the neural processes supporting young (ages 18-35) and older (ages 62-79) adults' successful encoding of positive, negative, and neutral objects (e.g., a sundae, a grenade, a canoe). The results revealed general preservation of the emotional memory network across the age groups. Both groups recruited the amygdala and the orbito-frontal cortex during the successful encoding of positive and negative information. Both ages also showed valence-specific recruitment: right fusiform activity was greatest during the successful encoding of negative information, whereas left prefrontal and temporal activity was greatest during the successful encoding of positive information. These valence-specific processes are consistent with behavioral evidence that negative information is processed with perceptual detail, whereas positive information is processed at a conceptual or schematic level. The only age differences in emotional memory emerged during the successful encoding of positive items: Older adults showed more activity in the medial prefrontal cortex and along the cingulate gyrus than young adults. Because these regions often are associated with self-referential processing, these results suggest that older adults' mnemonic boost for positive information may stem from an increased tendency to process this information in relation to themselves.
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/jocn.2008.20080
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:3199018
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