Age-related differences in encoding-retrieval similarity and their relationship to false memory

Jordan D. Chamberlain, Caitlin R. Bowman, Nancy A. Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Typical aging is associated with increases in false memory rates among older adults. Such errors are frequently associated with differential neural activity during encoding and retrieval in older compared to younger adults within visual cortices and the hippocampus. It remains unknown how pattern similarity reductions relate to false memories in healthy aging. Using encoding-retrieval similarity (ERS) analyses in a sample of younger and older adults, we examined how the similarity of neural patterns between memory phases associated with target and lure objects was impacted by age and contributed to false memory rates. Single-item ERS for targets and lures was reduced by age throughout much of the ventral visual stream and the posterior hippocampus. Furthermore, ERS associated with perceptual lures within the visual stream maintained differential relationships with false memory. Finally, a global ERS metric accounted for age deficits in single-item ERS, but did not contribute to false memory rates. These findings highlight the contribution of age-related reductions in ERS across multiple representational levels to false memories in healthy aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
StatePublished - May 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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