Have you ever wondered why you remember an event differently than a friend who was at the same even as you? You tell a story of an event that you and your friend went to together and as you’re telling a story you one of your other friends, the friend you went with cuts in and says that wasn’t how it happened and starts to explain it how they believed it went. You wonder why they are making up a story as well as they are wondering why you are making up the story. This is due to episodic memory. Episodic memory is when you have an experience in a time of your life that someone may also have had and experience f that is different that you are later able to recall as part of our long-term memory. While you age, being able to recall these memories isn’t too hard, but you may not remember everything. You also have a harder time forming new episodic memories as you age.
When we age we know a lot of things are hard on us whether it be our legs, joints, or memories. We know there are a lot of mental diagnoses that are given as we age such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. One study researched looked at high performance and low performance people to see how their episodic memory was, relative to their IQ, using the standard classification method. Dockree, Brennan, O’Sullivan, Robertson & Redmond (2015), stated “…some individuals showing progressive decline with advancing age and others showing preservation of this essential cognitive ability.” They are not saying that all people have a decline in episodic memory, but they do have some people that do. This is how they separate them into high performance and low performance brain functions. They resulted that the high performance people “accumulate memorial evidence for learned information more effectively, show compensatory neural activity during encoding and preserved neural mechanisms at retrieval” (Dockree, et. al. 2015). Most participants in the study were able to gather memories with no problem. They were able to compensate the parts of the memory that was missing with something logical that would fit in and fill in the gaps. Unfortunately, the lower performance group had a harder time with episodic memories.
In another article about episodic memory, they used resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) to look at episodic memory. Fjell, Sneve, Grydeland, Storsve, DeLange & Amlien (2015) cited:
Tambini et. al. (2010) found enhanced functional connectivity (FC) between the hippocampus and a portion of the lateral occipital complex during rest following a task with high subsequent memory, an effect that was not seen during a task with poor sub- sequent memory. Additionally, the magnitude of the hippocampal- occipital correlation during post-task rest predicted later associative memory.
When we do tasks that we enjoy, we are able to better recall them. This is all involved in the hippocampus, we are able to filter what information is relevant and what we want to remember and what we are able to forget. The neurons fire information that we need in order for our cortex to be able to hold our memories. As we get older, the firing rate of neurons is much slower and we have a harder time in retaining and recalling information.
Dockree, P. M., Brennan, S., O’Sullivan, M., Robertson, I. H., Redmond G.
O’Connell, Characterizing neural signatures of successful aging: Electrophysiological
correlates of preserved episodic memory in older age, Brain and Cognition, Volume
97, July 2015, Pages 40-50, ISSN 0278-2626,
Fjell, A. M., Sneve, M. H., Grydeland, H., Storsve, A. B., de Lange, A. G., Amlien, I. K., . . .
Walhovd, K. B. (2015). Functional connectivity change across multiple cortical
networks relates to episodic memory changes in aging. Neurobiology of Aging,