Reduced memory precision in older age is associated with functional and structural differences in the angular gyrus


Decreased fidelity of mnemonic representations plays a critical role in age-related episodic memory deficits, yet the brain mechanisms underlying such reductions remain unclear. Using functional and structural neuroimaging, we examined how changes in two key nodes of the posterior-medial network, the hippocampus and the angular gyrus, might underpin loss of memory precision in older age. Healthy young and older adults completed a memory task that involved reconstructing object features on a continuous scale. Investigation of BOLD activity during retrieval revealed an age-related reduction in activity reflecting successful recovery of object features in the hippocampus, whereas trial-wise modulation of BOLD signal by graded memory precision was diminished in the angular gyrus. Grey matter volume of the angular gyrus further predicted individual differences in memory precision in older age, beyond likelihood of successful retrieval. These findings provide converging evidence for a role of functional and structural integrity of the angular gyrus in constraining the fidelity of episodic remembering in older age, yielding new insights into parietal contributions to age-related episodic memory decline.