The associate professor of psychology shared details of work conducted with a current Elon University senior and a former undergraduate researcher from the Class of 2013.
Amy Overman, an associate professor of psychology and a faculty member in Elon University’s neuroscience program, presented research at the 15th Cognitive Aging Conference held in April in Atlanta.
The work was co-authored by a current and former student Overman had mentored: Jessica Katschke ’14 and Ursula Saelzler ’13, now a doctoral student in cognitive neuroscience at Georgia Institute of Technology.
The poster presentation, “Effects of gender congruency on memory for name-face associations in young and older adults,” investigated the extent to which face-name pairs were remembered more accurately when the gender of the face and name matched than when they did not match. Gender-matching affected the age groups differently: among older adults, the effect of gender-matching was greater for high-performing individuals than for low-performing individuals, whereas in younger adults the effect of gender-matching was not related to performance.
The results are consistent with theories of how the neural mechanisms of associative memory differ between age groups, likely due to the way older adults use structures of the medial temporal lobe, such as the hippocampus and perirhinal cortex.
The project builds on one of the main research priorities of Overman’s lab, which is to understand neural and cognitive mechanisms by which memories are formed and how this process can be strengthened in older adults.
The research project was supported by a Psi Chi International Psychology Honor Society Research Award and by Elon Undergraduate Research Program funding. The Cognitive Aging Conference is the premier academic conference for research on aging, cognition and the brain.