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ERIC Number: EJ789415
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Pages: 8
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0502
Aging Affects Acquisition and Reversal of Reward-Based Associative Learning
Weiler, Julia A.; Bellebaum, Christian; Daum, Irene
Learning & Memory, v15 n4 p190-197 Apr 2008
Reward-based associative learning is mediated by a distributed network of brain regions that are dependent on the dopaminergic system. Age-related changes in key regions of this system, the striatum and the prefrontal cortex, may adversely affect the ability to use reward information for the guidance of behavior. The present study investigated the effects of healthy aging on different components of reward learning, such as acquisition, reversal, effects of reward magnitude, and transfer of learning. A group of 30 young (mean age = 24.2 yr) and a group of 30 older subjects (mean age = 64.1 yr) completed two probabilistic reward-based stimulus association learning tasks. Older subjects showed poorer overall acquisition and impaired reversal learning, as well as deficits in transfer learning. When only those subjects who showed evidence of significant learning were considered, younger subjects showed equivalently fast learning irrespective of reward magnitude, while learning curves in older subjects were steeper for high compared to low reward magnitudes. Acquired equivalence learning, which requires generalization across stimuli and transfer of learned contingencies to new stimuli, was mildly impaired in older subjects.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A