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Amy Overman publishes memory and aging research in premier journal

Amy A. Overman, an associate professor in the psychology department and neuroscience program, has published a peer-reviewed study in the journal Psychology and Aging.

The article, titled "Synergistic effects of encoding strategy and context salience on associative memory in older adults," was co-authored by Dr. Joseph D.W. Stephens of North Carolina A&T State University, and was published online this week. It will appear in the print version of the journal later this year.

Overman's study examined young and older adults' ability to remember associations between pictures of faces and names of occupations. For example, a study participant might view a picture of a face next to the word "mechanic." These face-occupation pairs were presented in two separate groups, and then memory for the pairs was tested. For example, "mechanic" could be paired with the same face or with a different face, and the participant would decide whether it was the same pairing that had been seen before.

Among young adult participants, Overman found that certain aspects of memory performance improved either when participants used a visualization strategy, or when the groups of pairs were made more distinct from each other. In contrast, among older adult participants, the same aspects of memory improved only when participants used the visualization strategy and the groups of pairs were distinctive. The study is the first to demonstrate a link between memory strategy and context distinctiveness in age-related associative memory deficits, and is part of Overman's continuing research on associative memory in older adults.

Psychology and Aging, which is published by the American Psychological Association, is a top journal for original, peer-reviewed research on age-related cognitive changes. According to Journal Citation Reports, its most recent Impact Factor is 2.729, which ranks fourth out of 30 journals in the Gerontology subject category.

Amy Overman,
3/1/2013 2:05 PM