Psychologist Yvonne Brehmer establishes an Otto Hahn Group on Associative Memory in Old Age

Yvonne Brehmer is leading the new Otto Hahn Group on Associative Memory in Old Age at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. The group’s webpage is now online.

The Max Planck Society supports the establishment of three Otto Hahn groups each year to help promising young scientists take the next step in their independent research careers. Funding is provided for three years; an additional two years of funding is possible.

The main goal of the group is to further knowledge about differences between older individuals’ memory for associative information, such as remembering the name that goes with a face or the place a car is parked. Dr. Brehmer and her group want to know why some older adults are quite good at remembering associative information, whereas others are not; the reasons for these differences; and whether a good memory for associative information is related to successful aging. The group’s research questions are:

  • Which cognitive, social, health, and lifestyle factors contribute to between-person differences in remembering associative information among older adults?
  • Is it possible to identify genetic markers of these differences?
  • Are there structural brain differences between older adults with proficient associative memory and those with marked impairments?
  • Compared with older adults who have problems with associative memory, do older adults who perform well (a) perform more similarly to younger adults and (b) have brain structure more similar to younger adults?

In their studies, Dr. Brehmer and her group will use data from the Swedish SNAC-K Project that is carried out by the Aging Research Center, Karolinska Insitutet, Stockholm.

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