The amount of retrieval support modulates age effects on episodic memory: Evidence from event-related potentials

Lucie Angel, Michel Isingrini, Badiâa Bouazzaoui, Laurence Taconnat, Kevin Allan, Lionel Granjon, Séverine Fay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This experiment was designed to explore the impact of age and amount of retrieval support on episodic memory and its electrophysiological correlates. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded while young and older participants performed a word-stem cued-recall task in a low-support condition (LSC) in which the stem was composed of three letters, and a high-support condition (HSC) in which the cue consisted of four letters. Behavioral analyses showed that recall in the older group was less accurate than in the young group in the LSC, but no age differences were observed in the HSC. In the LSC, old/new ERP effects at frontal and parietal sites were later and less sustained for the older adults. Furthermore, the parietal old/new effect was symmetrically distributed for older adults, whereas it was predominant over the left hemisphere for their younger counterparts. In addition, young participants demonstrated early and long-lasting frontal and parietal effects in the HSC but with a predominance over the right hemisphere, whereas the older adults exhibited a frontal effect and an early and long-lasting parietal effect becoming predominant over the left hemisphere. No age differences in the time course of the parietal old/new effect were observed in this more supportive condition. In addition, in the last period, the left parietal effect was greater for the older group. This study suggests that episodic memory performance and ERP correlates of recall processes are more similar between young and older adults when increased support is provided at retrieval.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-52
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Research
Early online date24 Mar 2010
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2010


  • episodic memory
  • aging
  • environmental support
  • event-related potential
  • retrieval success


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