Abstract

The Deese/Roediger–McDermott (DRM) false-memory effect has been extensively documented in psychological research. People falsely recognize critical lures or nonstudied items that are semantically associated with studied items. Behavioral research has provided evidence for age-related increases in the DRM false-recognition effect. The present event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging study was aimed at investigating neurodevelopmental changes in brain regions associated with true- and false-memory recognition in 8-year olds, 12-year olds, and adults. Relative to 8-year olds, adults correctly endorsed more studied items as “old” but also mistakenly endorsed more critical lures. Age-related increases in recollection were associated with changes in the medial temporal lobe (MTL) activation profile. Additionally, age-related increases in false alarms (FAs) to semantically related lures were associated with changes in the activation profile of left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, a region associated with semantic processing. Additional regions exhibiting age-related changes include posterior parietal and anterior prefrontal cortices. In summary, concomitant changes in the MTL, prefrontal cortex, and parietal cortex underlie developmental increases in true and false recognition during childhood and adolescence.

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