Skip to main content

Aging Reduces EEG Markers of Recognition Despite Intact Performance: Implications for Forensic Memory Detection

Hellerstedt, Robin, Moccia, Arianna, Brunskill, Chloe M, Bowman, Howard, Bergström, Zara M (2021) Aging Reduces EEG Markers of Recognition Despite Intact Performance: Implications for Forensic Memory Detection. Cortex, 140 . pp. 80-97. ISSN 0010-9452. (doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2021.03.015) (KAR id:88316)

PDF Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English

Download (3MB) Preview
[thumbnail of Hellerstedt et al 2021 Cortex Author Accepted Manuscript.pdf]
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format
Official URL


ERP-based forensic memory detection is based on the logic that guilty suspects will hold incriminating knowledge about crimes they have committed, and therefore should show parietal ERP positivities related to recognition when presented with reminders of their crimes. We predicted that such forensic memory detection might however be inaccurate in older adults, because of changes to recognition-related brain activity that occurs with aging. We measured both ERPs and EEG oscillations associated with episodic old/new recognition and forensic memory detection in 30 younger (age < 30) and 30 older (age > 65) adults. EEG oscillations were included as a complementary measure which is less sensitive to temporal variability and component overlap than ERPs. In line with predictions, recognition-related parietal ERP positivities were significantly reduced in the older compared to younger group in both tasks, despite highly similar behavioural performance. We also observed aging-related reductions in oscillatory markers of recognition in the forensic memory detection test, while the oscillatory effects associated with episodic recognition were similar across age groups. This pattern of results suggests that while both forensic memory detection and episodic recognition are accompanied by aging-induced reductions in parietal ERP positivities, these reductions may be caused by non-overlapping mechanisms across the two tasks. Our findings suggest that EEG-based forensic memory detection tests are less valid in older than younger populations, limiting their practical applications.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.cortex.2021.03.015
Uncontrolled keywords: episodic memory, aging, forensic memory detection, ERP, EEG oscillations
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Zara Bergstrom
Date Deposited: 21 May 2021 12:45 UTC
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2022 23:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Hellerstedt, Robin:
Bowman, Howard:
Bergström, Zara M:
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year