Josette Graves

Professor Anjali Thapar

Psychology Department

 

“Is My Memory What it Used to Be?”: Examining Associations between Subjective Judgements and EEGs using ERP Methods

 

Event-related potentials (ERP) have been used as a method to track brain activity associated with performance on memory tasks. Previous research has shown that memory performance decreases with age. Given that declines in memory performance are such a well-known stereotype of aging, older adults (OA) might be more likely to doubt their own memory since they are geared to believe that their memory “is not what it used to be.” For my summer research, I will use a subset of the older adult sample participating in research in the Cognition and Aging Lab. I will administer an item memory task to test memory in order to discern which OA are high and low functioning (HF and LF). I will also use this item memory task to determine memory confidence within that population. In the item memory task, participants study a list of words on the screen and then in the test phase are presented with new (words that were not on the study list) and old (words that were on the study list) words. Their job is to accurately categorize these words and give a confidence rating for each answer. For my research project, I will examine differences in accuracy and types of subjective judgments in HF and LF older adults to see whether HF older adults are more likely to accurately categorize the words and have higher memory confidence than LF older adults. I will then compare these findings with the ERP data to examine similarities and differences in their subjective judgments and brain activity for the new and old words.