Age differences in recognition memory of the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta)

Sharon K. Presty, Jocelyne Bachevalier, Lary C. Walker, Robert G. Struble, Donald L. Price, Mortimer Mishkin, Linda C. Cork

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aging is accompanied by a gradual decline in memory in both humans and nonhuman primates. To determine whether the impairment in nonhuman primates extends to recognition memory, which is a sensitive index of the integrity of the limbic system, we trained rhesus monkeys of four different age groups (3-6, 14-17, 20-24, and 25-29 years of age) on a delayed nonmatching-to-sample task with trial-unique objects. After the animals had learned the task, which required recognition of single objects presented ten seconds earlier, memory demands were increased by gradually lengthening delay intervals (to 120 seconds) and list lengths (to ten objects). With increasing age, only marginal impairments in learning the basic task were observed. However, clear age-related differences did emerge when either delays or list lengths were increased, with the oldest group of monkeys demonstrating the greatest impairments. The decline in visual recognition ability in aging monkeys parallels the decline in memory observed with advancing age in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-440
Number of pages6
JournalNeurobiology of aging
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Delayed nonmatching-to-sample
  • Monkey
  • Neuropathology
  • Recognition memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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