Recollection, Familiarity and the frontal lobes: the effects of healthy adult aging
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According to the dual process theory of memory there are two processes that contribute to recognition memory: familiarity and recollection. The present study looks at the effects of healthy adult aging on recollection and familiarity, and the frontal lobes of the brain, as it has been suggested that recognition memory processes occur in the dorsolateral and ventromedial prefrontal regions. Studies have shown that the dorsolateral regions of the frontal lobes decline earlier and faster than the ventromedial regions. A non verbal recognition test for black and white photographs of buildings was performed by both younger and older participants and recollection and familiarity were measured using the Receiver Operating Characteristic method. Participants also performed the self ordered pointing task to tap the dorsolateral prefrontal regions and an emotion identification and social inference task to tap the ventromedial prefrontal regions. Results showed that older adults had lower estimates of recollection than younger adults but there was no effect of age on familiarity estimates. There was an age related decline in performance on all of the frontal lobe tests. The results show support for the dual process hypothesis of memory and aging, however it is suggested that there may be contribution from the temporal lobes in recognition memory processes as well as from the frontal lobes.