Understanding associative false memories in aging using multivariate analyses

Nancy A. Dennis, Amy A. Overman, Catherine M. Carpenter, Courtney R. Gerver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Age-related declines in associative memory are ubiquitous, with decreases in behavioral discriminability largely arising from increases in false memories for recombined lures. Using representational similarity analyses to examine the neural basis of associative false memories in aging, the current study found that neural pattern similarity between Hits and FAs and Hits and CRs differed as a function of age in occipital ROIs, such that older adults exhibited a smaller difference between the two similarity metrics than did younger adults. Additionally, greater Hit-FA representational similarity correlated with increases in associative FAs across several ROIs. Results suggest that while neural representations underlying targets may not differ across ages, greater pattern similarity between the neural representation of targets and lures may reflect reduced distinctiveness of the information encoded in memory, such that old and new items are more difficult to discriminate, leading to more false alarms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-525
Number of pages26
JournalAging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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