Guest Lecture of Yee Lee Shing

Guest Lecture of Yee Lee Shing


from the Center for Lifespan Psychology, MPI for Human Development, Berlin



Date: 18 July 2012


Topic: Episodic memory across the lifespan: separating strategic and associative components



In this talk I will present the two-component framework of episodic memory across the lifespan. In this framework, we hypothesized that (a) children’s difficulties in episodic memory primarily originate from low levels of strategic operations, and reflect the protracted development of the prefrontal cortex; (b) deficits in episodic memory performance among older adults originate from impairments in both strategic and associative components, reflecting senescent changes in the prefrontal cortex and medio-temporal lobes. I will present three lines of work from our group that examine the validity of the two-component framework. First, the plasticity of episodic memory is greater in children than in older adults. With training, children show greater improvements and higher levels of asymptotic performance than older adults even when they initially perform at the same or lower levels. Second, compared to children, older adults have considerably greater difficulties in rejecting rearranged associative information. Individual difference in false alarm rate of associative recognition is uniquely related to the dentate gyrus volume of the hippocampus. Third, age-related decline in memory monitoring, in interaction with binding deficits, contribute to age differences in false memory for highly familiar events. I will discuss the extent to which these findings support the two-component framework, and present ideas for future research that aims to elucidate mechanisms of lifespan differences in episodic memory.