perception, memory, cognitive neuroscience, aging


Deficits in memory for everyday activities are common complaints among healthy and demented older adults. The medial temporal lobes and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex are both affected by aging and early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, and are known to influence performance on laboratory memory tasks. We investigated whether the volume of these structures predicts everyday memory. Cognitively healthy older adults and older adults with mild Alzheimer’s-type dementia watched movies of everyday activities and completed memory tests on the activities. Structural MRI was used to measure brain volume. Medial temporal but not prefrontal volume strongly predicted subsequent memory. Everyday memory depends on segmenting activity into discrete events during perception, and medial temporal volume partially accounted for the relationship between performance on the memory tests and performance on an event-segmentation task. The everyday-memory measures used in this study involve retrieval of episodic and semantic information as well as working memory updating. Thus, the current findings suggest that during perception, the medial temporal lobes support the construction of event representations that determine subsequent memory.


Original Citation: Bailey, Heather R., Jeffrey M. Zacks, David Z. Hambrick, Rose T. Zacks, Denise Head, Christopher A. Kurby, and Jesse Q. Sargent. "Medial Temporal Lobe Volume Predicts Elders’ Everyday Memory." Psychological Science (2013): 1-10.