Age differences in the focus of retrieval: Evidence from dual-list free recall

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Chris Wahlheim, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: In the present experiment, we examined age differences in the focus of retrieval using a dual-list free recall paradigm. Younger and older adults studied 2 lists of unrelated words and recalled from the first list, the second list, or both lists. Older adults showed impaired use of control processes to recall items correctly from a target list and prevent intrusions. This pattern reflected a deficit in recollection verified using a process dissociation procedure. We examined the consequences of an age-related deficit in control processes on the focus of retrieval using measures of temporal organization. Evidence that older adults engaged a broader focus of retrieval than younger adults was shown clearly when participants were instructed to recall from both lists. First-recalled items originated from more distant positions across lists for older adults. We interpret older adults’ broader retrieval orientation as consistent with their impaired ability to elaborate cues to constrain retrieval. These findings show that age-related deficits in control processes impair context reinstatement and the subsequent focus of retrieval to target episodes.

Additional Information

Psychology & Aging, 30(4), 768-780
Language: English
Date: 2015
aging, cognitive control, interference, free recall, recollection

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