Evidence for age-related deficits in object-location binding during place recognition.
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Authors: Muffato, V., Hilton, C., Meneghetti, C., De Beni, R. and Wiener, J.M.
Deciding whether a place is the same or different than places encountered previously is a common task in daily navigation which requires to develop knowledge about the locations of objects (object-location binding) and to recognize places from different perspectives. These abilities rely on hippocampal functioning which is susceptible to increasing age. Thus, the question of the present study is how they both together impact on place recognition in aging. Forty people aged 20-29, 44 aged 60-69, and 32 aged 70-79 were presented with places consisting of four different objects during the encoding phase. In the test phase, they were then presented with a second place and had to decide whether it was the same or different. Test places were presented from different perspectives (0°, 30°, 60°) and with different object conditions (same, a swap of two objects, a substitution with a novel object). The sensitivity for detecting changes (d') decreased from 20-29 to 60-69 and to 70-79 years old, and with increasing perspective shifts. Importantly, older adults were less sensitive to object swapping than to object substitution, while young participants did not show any difference. Overall, these results suggest specific age-related difficulties in object-location binding in the context of place recognition.