The relation between brain activity during memory tasks and years of education in young and older adults

Mellanie V. Springer, Anthony R. McIntosh, Gordon Winocur, Cheryl L. Grady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

104 Scopus citations


Higher education is associated with less age-related decline in cognitive function, but the mechanism of this protective effect is unknown. The authors examined the effect of age on the relation between education and brain activity by correlating years of education with activity measured using functional MRI during memory tasks in young and older adults. In young adults, education was negatively correlated with frontal activity, whereas in older adults, education was positively correlated with frontal activity. Medial temporal activity was associated with more education in young adults but less education in older adults. This suggests that the frontal cortex is engaged by older adults, particularly by the highly educated, as an alternative network that may be engaged to aid cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-192
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005



  • Aging
  • Encoding
  • Frontal lobes
  • Memory
  • Recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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