ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2023, Vol. 55 ›› Issue (1): 106-116.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00106

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


李妍1, 程竞暄1, 喻婧1,2()   

  1. 1西南大学心理学部, 重庆 400715
    2中国科学院心理健康重点实验室, 中国科学院心理研究所, 北京 100101
  • 收稿日期:2021-12-09 发布日期:2022-10-13 出版日期:2023-01-25
  • 通讯作者: 喻婧
  • 基金资助:

Aging effect on episodic memory updating: Retrograde interference in competitive memory retrieval

LI Yan1, CHENG Jing-Xuan1, YU Jing1,2()   

  1. 1Faculty of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
    2Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2021-12-09 Online:2022-10-13 Published:2023-01-25
  • Contact: YU Jing


记忆更新是获取新知识的一种重要能力。大量研究显示老年人情景记忆受损, 但鲜有研究探讨老年人情景记忆更新模式的改变。研究在匹配了老年人和年轻人编码程度的前提下, 探讨情景记忆更新的老化效应及其潜在的认知机制。我们对AB-AC记忆更新范式进行了创新, 同时考察了在项目改变和位置改变条件下的老化效应, 并在测试阶段纳入诱饵选项, 进一步排除编码程度带来的影响。研究结果显示年轻人能对A-B和A-C记忆分离存储, 而老年人更多地受到回溯性记忆干扰, 即在A-B测试中出现C的闯入, 并且该干扰效应显著地大于诱饵刺激带来的影响。研究结果表明, 在年轻人和老年人编码程度匹配的情况下, 年轻人的记忆更新通过记忆分化来实现, 而老年人更多地受到竞争记忆的回溯性干扰。

关键词: 记忆更新, 情景记忆, 老化, 回溯性干扰


Updating outdated memories with newly acquired information is an important ability. To ensure less interference from outdated memories, one either trims old memory traces or differentiates between novel and old memories. Although the age-related decline in episodic memory has been well-established, aging effect on episodic memory updating and its underlying cognitive mechanisms are less understood. Memory differentiation and memory interference may act as two different mechanisms that underlie episodic memory updating. To bridge this research gap, we investigated the different updating memory patterns in young and older adults. Furthermore, we intended to clarify the updating differences in item and source memory, which are the two essential elements embedded in episodic memory. By implementing an adapted AB-AC memory updating paradigm, we posited that young adults would comparably attain A-B and A-C memory. In contrast, older adults would experience C memory intrusions in the A-B memory test, indicating memory interference.

We examined episodic memory updating for a sample of 30 young and 30 older adults randomly selected from the university and neighboring community. On Day 1, participants learned 36 naturalistic A-B pairings and completed the encoding test immediately after learning. On Day 2, participants first reviewed the A-B pairs before being introduced to 36 novel A-C pairings (where C’s items or sources were different from those in B), following which they completed the Day 2 encoding test. Finally, all the participants returned to the laboratory and completed the A-B and A-C tests on Days 3 and 5. To elucidate the updating memory patterns between the two age groups, we classified their responses into target, competitor, and lure categories to test the group-level differences in memory updating.

We ran a 2 (age: young adults and older adults) × 2 (association: A-B and A-C) × 3 (category: target, competitor, and lure) × 2 (time: Days 3 and 5) repeated analysis of variance to examine the different memory updating pattern between the two age groups. Expectedly, there were significant age×category and age×association×category interaction effects in both item and source memory tasks. More precisely, young adults performed comparatively well in A-B and A-C memory tests and showed no significant memory intrusions and distortions. In comparison, older adults performed better in the A-C memory test than in the A-B memory test and showed B intrusions in the A-C memory test but no C intrusion in the A-B test.

We found that young adults could strengthen their novel memories without inhibiting outdated ones and simultaneously maintained A-B and A-C memory traces. However, older adults updated their memories by overwriting their previously-stored A-B memory traces. The findings illuminate episodic memory updating and its underlying cognitive mechanisms, whereby young adults update memories via differentiating old with new memory traces. However, older adults inhibit previous memory traces when confronted with two pieces of competing information. Notably, separate mechanisms apply to item and source memories and show a long-term effect.

Key words: memory updating, episodic memory, aging, retrograde interference