The hippocampus shows an own‐age bias during unfamiliar face viewing

Joshua D. Koen, Nedra Hauck, Michael D. Rugg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study investigated the neural correlates of the own-age bias for face recognition in a repetition suppression paradigm. Healthy young and older adults viewed upright and inverted unfamiliar faces. Some of the upright faces were repeated following one of two delays (lag 0 or lag 11). Repetition suppression effects were observed in bilateral fusiform cortex. However, there were no significant effects indicating an own-age bias in repetition suppression. The absence of these effects is arguably inconsistent with perceptual expertise accounts of own-age biases in face processing. By contrast, the right anterior hippocampus showed an own-age bias (greater activity for own-age compared to other-age faces) when viewing an unfamiliar face for the first time. Given the importance of the hippocampus for episodic memory encoding, we conjecture that the increased hippocampal activity for own-age relative to other-age faces reflects differential engagement of neural processes supporting the episodic encoding of faces and might provide insight into the neural underpinnings of own-age biases in face recognition memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7876-7885
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number11
Early online date10 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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