Age differences in medial prefrontal activity for subsequent memory of truth value

Brittany S. Cassidy, Trey Hedden, Carolyn Yoon, Angela H. Gutchess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Much research has demonstrated that aging is marked by decreased source memory relative to young adults, yet a smaller body of work has demonstrated that increasing the socioemotional content of source information may be one way to reduce age-related performance differences. Although dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) activity may support source memory among young and older adults, the extent to which one activates dorsal vs. ventral mPFC may reflect one's personal connection with incoming information. Because truth value may be one salient marker that impacts one's connection with information and allocation of attention toward incoming material, we investigated whether the perceived truth value of information differently impacts differences in mPFC activity associated with encoding source information, particularly with age. Twelve young (18-23 years) and 12 older adults (63-80 years) encoded true and false statements. Behavioral results showed similar memory performance between the age groups. With respect to neural activity associated with subsequent memory, young adults, relative to older adults, exhibited greater activity in dmPFC while older adults displayed enhanced ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and insula engagement relative to young. These results may potentially indicate that young adults focus on a general knowledge acquisition goal, while older adults focus on emotionally relevant aspects of the material. The findings demonstrate that age-related differences in recruitment of mPFC associated with encoding source information may in some circumstances underlie age-equivalent behavioral performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 87
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberFEB
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Encoding
  • Insula
  • Medial prefrontal cortex
  • Truth value


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