26. Neural mechanisms of age-related changes in human working memory

Bart Rypma, J. S. Berger, M. D'Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We used event-related fMRI to investigate age-related differences in PFC activity during separate WM task components (encoding, maintenance, retrieval) with varying memory loads of verbal information. Younger adults showed greater PFC activity than older adults only in dorsolateral PFC, only during memory retrieval. Faster young subjects showed less dorsolateral PFC activation during retrieval than slower young subjects whereas the opposite pattern was observed in older adults. This result was replicated in two additional experiments using verbal and spatial information. Age-related changes in the dorsolateral PFC regions involved in memory retrieval may mediate declines in WM performance. These results suggest a relationship between neural activation and performance that is sigmoid in nature. Age-related differences in performance may be mediated by bias shifts in this sigmoid function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-116
Number of pages4
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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