Most tasks test memory within the same day, however, most forgetting occurs after 24 h. Further, testing memory for simple words or objects does not mimic real-world memory experiences. We designed a memory task showing participants video clips of everyday kinds of experiences, including positive, negative, and neutral stimuli, and tested memory immediately and 24 h later. During the memory test, we included repeated and similar stimuli to tax both target recognition and lure discrimination ability. Participants' memory was worse after 24 h, especially the ability to discriminate similar stimuli. Emotional videos were better remembered when tested immediately, however, after 24 h we find gist versus detail trade-offs in emotional forgetting. We also applied this paradigm to a sample of cognitively normal older adults that also underwent amyloid and tau PET imaging. We found that older adults performed worse on the task compared to young adults. While both young and older adults showed similar patterns of forgetting of repeated emotional and neutral clips, older adults showed preserved neutral compared to emotional discrimination after 24 h. Further, lure discrimination performance correlated with medial temporal lobe tau in older adults with preclinical Alzheimer's disease. These results suggest factors such as time between encoding and retrieval, emotion, and similarity influence memory performance and should be considered when examining memory performance for an accurate picture of memory function and dysfunction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience