To boost or to CRUNCH? Effect of effortful encoding on episodic memory in older adults is dependent on executive functioning
Number of pages
SourcePLoS One, 12, 3, (2017), article e0174217
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC NRP
SubjectDI-BCB_DCC_Theme 3: Plasticity and Memory; Neuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology; Radboudumc 1: Alzheimer`s disease DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience; Neuro- en revalidatiepsychologie
It is essential to develop effective interventions aimed at ameliorating age-related cognitive decline. Previous studies found that effortful encoding benefits episodic memory in older adults. However, to date it is unclear whether this benefit is different for individuals with strong versus weak executive functioning (EF). Fifty-one older adults were recruited and divided into low (N = 26) and high (N = 25) functioning groups, based on their EF capacity. All participants performed a semantic and a perceptual incidental encoding task. Each encoding task was performed under four difficulty levels to establish different effort levels. Encoding was followed by a recognition task. Results showed that the high EF group benefitted from increased effort in both tasks. However, the low EF group only showed a beneficial effect under low levels of effort. Results are consistent with the Compensation-Related Utilization of Neural Circuits Hypothesis (CRUNCH) and suggest that future research directed at developing efficient memory strategies to reduce negative cognitive aging effects should take individual cognitive differences among older adults into account, such as differences in EF.
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