Cognitive training-related changes in hippocampal activity associated with recollection in older adults
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Impairments in the ability to recollect specific details of personally experienced events are one of the main cognitive changes associated with aging. Cognitive training can improve older adults' recollection. However, little is currently known regarding the neural correlates of these training-related changes in recollection. Prior research suggests that the hippocampus plays a central role in supporting recollection in young and older adults, and that age-related changes in hippocampal function may lead to age-related changes in recollection. The present study investigated whether cognitive training-related increases in older adults' recollection are associated with changes in their hippocampal activity during memory retrieval. Older adults' hippocampal activity during retrieval was examined before and after they were trained to use semantic encoding strategies to intentionally encode words. Training-related changes in recollection were positively correlated with training-related changes in activity for old words in the hippocampus bilaterally. Positive correlations were also found between training-related changes in activity in prefrontal and left lateral temporal regions associated with self-initiated semantic strategy use during encoding and training-related changes in right hippocampal activity associated with recollection during retrieval. These results suggest that cognitive training-related improvements in older adults' recollection can be supported by changes in their hippocampal activity during retrieval. They also suggest that age differences in cognitive processes engaged during encoding are a significant contributor to age differences in recollection during retrieval.
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