To investigate neural mechanisms that support semantic functions in aging, we recorded scalp EEG during an object retrieval task in 22 younger and 22 older adults. The task required determining if a particular object could be retrieved when two visual words representing object features were presented. Both age groups had comparable accuracy although response times were longer in older adults. In both groups a left fronto-temporal negative potential occurred at around 750. ms during object retrieval, consistent with previous findings (Brier, Maguire, Tillman, Hart, & Kraut, 2008). In only older adults, a later positive frontal potential was found peaking between 800 and 1000. ms during no retrieval. These findings suggest younger and older adults employ comparable neural mechanisms when features clearly facilitate retrieval of an object memory, but when features yield no retrieval, older adults use additional neural resources to engage in a more effortful and exhaustive search prior to making a decision.
- Memory retrieval
- Object memory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology