Angela Gutchess, Ph.D.
Assistant 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:

Self-referencing enhances memory specificity with age .Hamami A, Serbun SJ, Gutchess AH. Psychol Aging. 2011 Apr 11. Epub ahead of print. [abstract]

Source memory for action in young and older adults: Self vs. close or unknown others. Rosa NM, Gutchess AH. Psychol Aging. 2011 Mar 28. Epub ahead of print. [abstract]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Effects of aging and encoding instructions on emotion-induced memory trade-offs.  (2007) Kensinger, E.A., Gutchess, A.H., & Schacter, D.L. Psychology and Aging, 22(4), 781-795.

Aging and the self-reference effect in memory (2007) Gutchess, A.H., Kensinger, E.A., Yoon, C., & Schacter, D.L. Memory, 15(8), 822-837.

Improving cognitive function in older adults: Nontraditional approaches. (2007)  Park, D.C., Gutchess, A.H., Meade, M.L., & Stine-Morrow, E.A.L. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 62B, 45-52.

Event-related potentials reveal age differences in the encoding and recognition of scenes. (2007)  Gutchess, A.H., Ieuji, Y., & Federmeier, K.D.Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19(7), 1089-1103.

Age and culture modulate object processing and object-scene binding in the ventral visual area. (2007)  Goh, J.O., Chee, M. W., Tan , J.C., Venkatraman, V., Hebrank, A., Leshikar, E.D., Jenkins, L., Sutton, B.P., Gutchess, A. H., & Park, D.C.Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 7(1),44-52.

Contextual interference in recognition memory with age. (2007) Gutchess, A.H., Hebrank, A., Sutton, B.P., Leshikar, E., Chee, M.W.L., Tan, J.C., Goh, J.O.S., & Park, D.C. NeuroImage, 35(3), 1338-1347.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cortical areas involved in object, background and object-background processing revealed with functional magnetic resonance adaptation. (2004)  Goh, J.O.S. Siong, S.C., Park , D.C., Gutchess , A.H., Hebrank, A., & Chee, M.W.L. Journal of Neuroscience, 24(45), 10223-10228. 

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

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

Working memory for complex scenes: Age differences in frontal and hippocampal activations. (2003) Park, D.C., Welsh, R.C., Marshuetz, C., Gutchess, A.H., Mikels, J., Polk, T.A., Noll, D.C., & Taylor, S.F. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 15(8), 1122-1134.

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


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