Angela Gutchess, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology

Life-span development. Culture, aging, and memory

B.A., Boston University
M.A., University of Michigan
Ph.D., University of Michigan

Contact Information

Research in my laboratory explores the effects of age and culture on memory and social processes using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and behavioral measures. 

My research on aging and memory explores age differences in the specificity and accuracy of memory and in the plasticity of the neural resources that subserve memory processes.  My previous research demonstrates that older adults can compensate for decreased medial temporal lobe activity by recruiting regions of prefrontal cortex to support encoding.  However, age differences occur at the time of recognition in prefrontal regions when contexts interfere with the recognition of studied objects and in widespread brain regions when similar lures must be distinguished from studied pictures.  My current work addresses the specificity of memory processes by exploring the extent to which 1) age-related deficits occur due to a failure to engage sensory or controlled processes, and 2) the loss of specificity and compensatory mechanisms documented with age for sensory domains also characterizes social domains, functions that are purportedly preserved with age.

My research on cross-cultural differences compares cognitive and social processes across East Asian and Western cultures.  My previous fMRI research demonstrates that culture affects object processing, with Americans engaging object-specific regions to a greater extent than East Asians during the encoding of complex scenes.  I have also explored the interaction of culture and aging, a line of work that pits the influence of life experiences and plasticity against neurobiological aging.  We’ve identified cultural differences in the use of categories to organize memory for older, but not younger, adults.  Our current work continues to address these themes, exploring the specificity of memory processes for cognitive and social domains, using both behavioral and neuroimaging methods.  Although cultures may differ across these domains in the specificity of the details encoded into memory, aging is predicted to reduce the specificity of memory processes, thus eliminating cross-cultural differences.

Selected Publications:


Zebrowitz L, Ward N, Boshyan J, Gutchess A, Hadjikhani N. (2016). "Dedifferentiated Face Processing in Older Adults is Linked to Lower Resting State Metabolic Activity in Fusiform Face Area." Brain Res.2016 May 6.

Rosa NM, Deason RG, Budson AE, Gutchess AH. (2016). "Source Memory for Self and Other in Patients With Mild Cognitive Impairment due to Alzheimer's Disease." J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 71(1): 59-65.

Rosa, N. M., et al. (2016). "Source Memory for Self and Other in Patients With Mild Cognitive Impairment due to Alzheimer's Disease." Journals of Gerontology Series B-Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 71(1): 59-65.

Leshikar ED, Cassidy BS, Gutchess AH. (2016). "Similarity to the self influences cortical recruitment during impression formation." Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 16(2): 302-314.


Beadle JN, Sheehan AH, Dahlben B, Gutchess AH. (2015). "Aging, empathy, and prosociality." J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 70(2): 215-224.

Carmichael AM, Gutchess AH. (2015). "Using warnings to reduce categorical false memories in younger and older adults." Memory. 2016 Jul;24(6):853-63.

Cassidy BS, Dubé C, Gutchess AH. (2015). "Social influences on adaptive criterion learning." Mem Cognit 43(5): 695-708.

Cassidy BS, Gutchess AH. (2015). "Age Effects in Adaptive Criterion Learning." J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2015 Jul 29.

Cassidy BS, Gutchess AH. (2015). "Influences of appearance-behaviour congruity on memory and social judgements." Memory 23(7): 1039-1055.

Cassidy BS and Gutchess (2015). "Neural Responses to Appearance-Behavior Congruity." Social Cognition 33(3): 211-226.

DeScioli P, Rosa NM, Gutchess AH. (2015). "A memory advantage for property." Evol Psychol. 2015 May 18;13(2):411-23.

Gutchess AH, Sokal R, Coleman JA, Gotthilf G, Grewal L, Rosa N. (2015). "Age differences in self-referencing: Evidence for common and distinct encoding strategies." Brain Res 1612: 118-127.

Huff, S., et al. (2015). Cultural Influences on Social and Self-Relevant Memory. Neuroscience in Intercultural Contexts. J. E. Warnick and D. Landis. New York, Springer 215-241.
Lee HN, Rosa NM, Gutchess AH. (2015). "Ageing and the group-reference effect in memory." Memory. 2016 Jul;24(6):746-56.

Leshikar ED, Park JM, Gutchess AH. (2015). "Similarity to the Self Affects Memory for Impressions of Others in Younger and Older Adults." J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 70(5): 737-742.

Rosa NM, Deason RG, Budson AE, Gutchess AH. (2015). "Self-referencing and false memory in mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's disease." Neuropsychology 29(5): 799-805.


Cassidy BS, Hedden T, Yoon C, Gutchess AH. (2014). "Age differences in medial prefrontal activity for subsequent memory of truth value." Front Psychol. 2014 Feb 7;5:87.

Gutchess, A. (2014). "Plasticity of the aging brain: new directions in cognitive neuroscience." Science 346(6209): 579-582.

Gutchess, A. (2014). "Recognizing the risks of brain stimulation--response." Science 346(6215): 1307.
Schwartz AJ, Boduroglu A, Gutchess AH. (2014). "Cross-cultural differences in categorical memory errors." Cogn Sci 38(5): 997-1007.


Cassidy BS, Leshikar ED, Shih JY, Aizenman A, Gutchess AH. (2013). "Valence-based age differences in medial prefrontal activity during impression formation." Soc Neurosci 8(5): 462-473.

Colton G, Leshikar ED, Gutchess AH. (2013). "Age differences in neural response to stereotype threat and resiliency for self-referenced information." Front Hum Neurosci 7: 537.

Millar, P. R., et al. (2013). "Cross-cultural differences in memory specificity." Culture and Brain 1(2-4): 138-157.
Rosa NM, Gutchess AH. (2013). "False memory in aging resulting from self-referential processing." J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 68(6): 882-892.


Beadle JN, Yoon C, Gutchess AH. (2012). "Age-related neural differences in affiliation and isolation." Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 12(2): 269-279.

Cassidy BS, Gutchess AH.. (2012). "Social relevance enhances memory for impressions in older adults." Memory 20(4): 332-345.

Cassidy BS, Gutchess AH. (2012). "Structural Variation within the Amygdala and Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex Predicts Memory for Impressions in Older Adults." Front Psychol. 2012 Aug 28;3:319.

Cassidy BS, Shih JY, Gutchess AH. (2012). "Age-related changes to the neural correlates of social evaluation." Soc Neurosci 7(6): 552-564.

Cassidy BS, Zebrowitz LA, Gutchess AH. (2012). "Appearance-based inferences bias source memory." Mem Cognit 40(8): 1214-1224.

Gilron R, Gutchess AH. (2012). "Remembering first impressions: Effects of intentionality and diagnosticity on subsequent memory." Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 12(1): 85-98.
Gutchess AH, Schacter DL. (2012). "The neural correlates of gist-based true and false recognition." Neuroimage 59(4): 3418-3426.


Serbun SJ, Shih JY, Gutchess AH. (2011). "Memory for details with self-referencing." Memory 19(8): 1004-1014.

Hamami A, Serbun SJ, Gutchess AH. Self-referencing enhances memory specificity with age. Psychol Aging. 2011 Apr 11.

Rosa NM, Gutchess AH. Source memory for action in young and older adults: Self vs. close or unknown others. Psychol Aging. 2011 Mar 28.


Leshikar ED, Gutchess AH, Hebrank AC, Sutton BP, Park DC. The impact of increased relational encoding demands on frontal and hippocampal function in older adults. Cortex. 2010 Apr;46(4):507-21.

Gutchess AH, Kensinger EA, Schacter DL. Functional neuroimaging of self-referential encoding with age. Neuropsychologia. 2010 Jan;48(1):211-9.

Gutchess AH, Hedden T, Ketay S, Aron A, Gabrieli JD. Neural differences in the processing of semantic relationships across cultures. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2010;5(2-3):254-263.


Gutchess AH, Indeck A. Cultural influences on memory. Prog Brain Res. 2009;178:137-50. Review.

Gutchess, AH & Park, DC. Effects of aging on associative memory for related and unrelated pictures. (2009). European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 21:235-254.

Cole C, Laurent G, Drolet A, Ebert J, Gutchess A, Lambert-Pandraud R, Mullet E, Norton M, & Peters E. Decisionmaking and brand choice by older consumers. Marketing Letters 19, 08: 355-365.

Schacter DL, Gutchess AH, & Kensinger EA. (2009) Memory in Mind and Culture. Ed. P. Boyer & J. Wertsch. Specificity of memory: Implications for individual and collective remembering. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 83-111.


Gutchess AH, Kensinger EA, Schacter DL. Aging, self-referencing, and medial prefrontal cortex. (2007) Soc Neurosci. 2007;2(2):117-33.

Kensinger EA, Gutchess AH, & Schacter DL. Effects of aging and encoding instructions on emotion-induced memory trade-offs.  (2007)Psychology and Aging, 22(4), 781-795.

Gutchess AH, Kensinger EA, Yoon C & Schacter DL Aging and the self-reference effect in memory (2007). Memory, 15(8), 822-837.

Park DC, Gutchess AH, Meade ML, & Stine-Morrow EAL. Improving cognitive function in older adults: Nontraditional approaches. (2007)  Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 62B, 45-52.

Gutchess AH, Leuji Y, & Federmeier KD. Event-related potentials reveal age differences in the encoding and recognition of scenes. (2007) Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19(7), 1089-1103.

Goh JO, Chee MW, Tan JC, Venkatraman V, Hebrank A, Leshikar ED, Jenkins L, Sutton BP, Gutchess AH, & Park DC. Age and culture modulate object processing and object-scene binding in the ventral visual area. (2007) Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 7(1),44-52.

Gutchess AH, Hebrank A, Sutton BP, Leshikar E, Chee MWL, Tan JC, Goh JOS, & Park DC. Contextual interference in recognition memory with age. (2007)  NeuroImage, 35(3), 1338-1347.


Gutchess AH, Yoon C, Luo T, Feinberg F, Hedden T, Jing Q, Nisbett RE & Park DC. Categorical organization in free recall across culture and age. (2006) Gerontology, 52(5), 314-323.

Yoon C, Feinberg F & Gutchess, AH. Pictorial naming specificity across ages and cultures: A latent class analysis of picture norms for younger and older Americans and Chinese. (2006) Gerontology, 52(5), 295-305.

Gutchess AH, Welsh RC, Boduroglu A. & Park DC. Cross-cultural differences in the neural correlates of picture encoding. (2006) Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 6(2), 102-109.

Gutchess AH & Park DC. fMRI environment can impair memory performance in young and elderly adults. (2006) Brain Research, 1099(1), 133-140.

Park DC & Gutchess AH. The cognitive neuroscience of aging and culture. (2006) Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15(3), 105-108.

Chee MWL, Goh JOS, Venkatraman V, Tan JC, Gutchess A, Sutton B, Hebrank A, Leshikar E, & Park D. Age-related changes in object processing and contextual binding revealed using fMR-Adaptation. (2006) Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18(4), 495-507.

Yoon C, Gutchess AH, Feinberg F & Polk TA. Comparing the structures of brand and human personality: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study. (2006) Journal of Consumer Research, 33, 31-40.


Yoon C, Laurent G, Fung H, Gonzalez R, Gutchess AH, Hedden T, Lambert-Pandraud R, Mather M, Park DC, Peters E, Skurnik I. Cognition, persuasion and decision making in older consumers. (2005) Marketing Letters, 16(3-4), 429-441.

Gutchess AH, Welsh RC, Hedden T, Bangert A, Minear M, Liu L, & Park DC. Aging and the neural correlates of successful picture encoding: Frontal activations compensate for decreased medial temporal activity. (2005) Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17(1), 84-96.


Goh JOS, Siong SC, Park DC, Gutchess AH, Hebrank A, & Chee MWL. Cortical areas involved in object, background and object-background processing revealed with functional magnetic resonance adaptation. (2004) Journal of Neuroscience, 24(45), 10223-10228. 

Yoon C, Feinberg F, Luo T, Hedden T, Gutchess AH, Chen H, Mikels J, Jiao S, & Park DC. A cross-culturally standardized set of pictures for younger and older adults: American and Chinese norms for name agreement, concept agreement, and familiarity. (2004) Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 36(4), 639-649.

Yoon C, Feinberg F, Hu P, Gutchess AH, Hedden T, Chen H, Jing Q, Cui Y & Park DC. Category norms as a function of culture and age: Comparisons of item responses to 105 categories by American and Chinese adults. (2004) Psychology and Aging, 19(3), 379-393.

2003 & 2002

Park DC, Welsh, RC, Marshuetz C, Gutchess AH, Mikels J, Polk TA, Noll DC, & Taylor SF. Working memory for complex scenes: Age differences in frontal and hippocampal activations. (2003) Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 15(8), 1122-1134.

Park DC & Gutchess AH. Aging, cognition, and culture: A neuroscientific perspective. (2002) Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 26(7), 859-867.


Last reviewed: June 14, 2016. E-mail comments or questions to the webmaster.


415 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453 (781) 736-2000