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Response bias and aging on a recognition memory task


Response bias reflects the decision rule an individual uses when faced With uncertainty oil recognition memory tasks. Recent studies indicate frontal regions may mediate response bias performance. One theory of aging also implicates frontal lobe contributions in age-related cognitive changes. This suggests that frontal lobe changes may mediate response bias in older adults. Consistent with this frontal aging hypothesis. we predicted that response bias would become more liberal with age. Methods: Participants were 181 younger(30-49) and 112 older normal adults (75+) that were part of the California Verbal Learning Test-second edition (CVLT-2) normative sample (total n = 1078). We used parametric measures of discriminability and response bias provided by the CVLT-2 scoring program. Groups were similar in IQ and education. Multi-level regression models were created to examine the effects of moderating variables. The interaction between age and age group significantly predicted response bias. Post hoc analysis indicated that increasing age was associated with more liberal bias in the older but not in the younger group. In the light of reported relationships between frontal regions and both aging and response bias. we hypothesize that frontal changes may be the underlying mechanism explaining the increase in liberal response bias with age.

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