Procesos inhibitorios en el recuerdo de personas durante el envejecimiento normal

Principal Investigator: 
Funding entity: 
Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness
( - )

The general purpose of this project is to identify the mechanisms involved in face and name retrieval. Specifically, we are interested in studying how, in a very short time, we need to be able to accurately discriminate and select from a multitude of very similar representations the ones that are relevant to the person we are trying to recognize or retrieve. Furthermore, we are interested on explaining why these memories related to personal representations are specially vulnerable to aging. Thus, we are interested in the impairment in names retrieval traditionally observed in aging (Lovelace & Twohig, 1990). This naming difficulties observed in older people have important consequences for their quality of life (e.g., it hinders their social exchange and generates a lack of self-confidence, Light, 1991). Moreover, from a neuropsychological perspective, it has recently been suggested that deficits in the retrieval of face-name pairs may help in distinguishing between the Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), that predicts the Alzheimer’s disease (Gauthier et al., 2006) and healthy aging (Pike et al., 2012). In this field, one of the most accepted theories suggests that this impairment is caused by a phonological transmission deficit (Cross & Burke, 2004). However, we hypothesized that the naming impairment experienced by elderly people may also be caused by a deficit in inhibitory processes, implied in overcoming interference situations (Neumann, Obler, Gomez, Shafer, 2009). Therefore, in this project we try to determine if the cause of these difficulties in retrieving names by older people can be explained not only by a deficit in phonological transmission, but also by an impairment of the inhibitory processes necessary to solve interference. Finally, the project pretends to identify the neural correlates of these difficulties in remembering faces and names in older adults. We intend to do so by recording the electrophysiological activity (EEG) and dopaminergic markers (eye-blink rate).