Whilst countless studies have shown that aging is associated with cognitive decline in the general population, near to nothing is known about this association in elderly individuals naturally exhibiting enhanced memory capabilities. The identification of a 75 years old individual (GC) with highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM), and his willingness to volunteer to our study over a period of five years, allowed us to investigate this issue in a single case study. At the age of 75 years, GC was screened for HSAM with the Public Events Quiz and the Random Dates Quiz, with a positive outcome. GC's memory performance was extraordinarily higher than normal-memory control subjects (>3 standard deviations), and comparable to a group of younger HSAM individuals (mean age of 32.5 years; Santangelo et al., 2018). GC underwent general neuropsychological (Mini-Mental State Examination), personality (Personality Assessment Inventory), and brain morphological (brain volumes and lesions) assessments, showing no deviation from normal ranges. To gain insight into the brain mechanisms underlying his memory performance, GC underwent functional brain imaging during the retrieval of memories associated with random dates. The latter were also rated in terms of reliving quality and emotional valence. Similar to younger HSAM individuals, GC's access to past memories recruited a wide network of prefrontal and temporo-parietal regions, especially during the recollection of memories associated with a lower reliving rating, suggesting a compensatory mechanism in HSAM. Increased activity in the insula was instead associated with emotionally-positive memories. Five years later, GC was tested again for HSAM and showed no sign of memory decline, whereby his memory performance was indistinguishable from the tests he performed five years earlier. GC's case suggests that highly superior memory performance can manifest without apparent decline in physiological aging. Implications of the current findings for the extant models of autobiographical memory are discussed.

Highly superior autobiographical memory in aging: A single case study / Santangelo, V.; Pedale, T.; Colucci, P.; Giulietti, G.; Macri, S.; Campolongo, P.. - In: CORTEX. - ISSN 0010-9452. - 143:(2021), pp. 267-280. [10.1016/j.cortex.2021.05.011]

Highly superior autobiographical memory in aging: A single case study

Colucci P.;Campolongo P.
2021

Abstract

Whilst countless studies have shown that aging is associated with cognitive decline in the general population, near to nothing is known about this association in elderly individuals naturally exhibiting enhanced memory capabilities. The identification of a 75 years old individual (GC) with highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM), and his willingness to volunteer to our study over a period of five years, allowed us to investigate this issue in a single case study. At the age of 75 years, GC was screened for HSAM with the Public Events Quiz and the Random Dates Quiz, with a positive outcome. GC's memory performance was extraordinarily higher than normal-memory control subjects (>3 standard deviations), and comparable to a group of younger HSAM individuals (mean age of 32.5 years; Santangelo et al., 2018). GC underwent general neuropsychological (Mini-Mental State Examination), personality (Personality Assessment Inventory), and brain morphological (brain volumes and lesions) assessments, showing no deviation from normal ranges. To gain insight into the brain mechanisms underlying his memory performance, GC underwent functional brain imaging during the retrieval of memories associated with random dates. The latter were also rated in terms of reliving quality and emotional valence. Similar to younger HSAM individuals, GC's access to past memories recruited a wide network of prefrontal and temporo-parietal regions, especially during the recollection of memories associated with a lower reliving rating, suggesting a compensatory mechanism in HSAM. Increased activity in the insula was instead associated with emotionally-positive memories. Five years later, GC was tested again for HSAM and showed no sign of memory decline, whereby his memory performance was indistinguishable from the tests he performed five years earlier. GC's case suggests that highly superior memory performance can manifest without apparent decline in physiological aging. Implications of the current findings for the extant models of autobiographical memory are discussed.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1572914
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