Age-related differences in recognition in associative memory.
Aging is often accompanied by associative memory changes, although their precise nature remains unclear. This study examines how recognition of item position in the context of associative memory differs between younger and older adults. Participants studied word pairs (A-B, C-D) and were later tested with intact (A-B), reversed (D-C), recombined (A-D), and recombined and reversed (B-C) pairs. When participants were instructed to respond "Old" to both intact and reversed pairs, and "New" to recombined, and recombined and reversed pairs, older adults showed worse recognition for recombined and reversed pairs relative to younger adults (Experiment 1). This finding also emerged when flexible retrieval demands were increased by asking participants to respond "Old" only to intact pairs (Experiment 2). These results suggest that as conditions for flexible retrieval become more demanding, older adults may show worse recognition in associative memory tasks relative to younger adults.
De Brigard, F; Langella, S; Stanley, ML; Castel, AD; Giovanello, KS
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