Retrieval of Episodic Autobiographical Memories in Older Adults

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Heather Elizabeth Burkett (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: I examined age-related differences in specificity of autobiographical memories by investigating executive function in young (18 – 25) and older adults (64 – 85) when given low and high imagability word cues (5 low, 5 high in randomized order). Participants provided 10 narratives for the autobiographical interview and completed Matrix Reasoning, Digit Span Backwards, and Verbal Paired Associates to reflect executive function ability. Scores on the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21) were also used as a covariate in the primary analyses. Results for the complete memory data indicated significant effects for Age Group and Imagability, but were qualified by a significant interaction between the two. Young adults produced more specificity than older adults, with high imagability words eliciting the most specificity. Conversely, results for the reduced memory data indicated a significant effect for Imagability and Age Group, with no significant interaction between Age Group and Imagability. High imagability words elicited more specificity in both young and older adults. Significant age differences were also found for the Matrix Reasoning raw scores and Verbal Paired Associates raw scores with young adults providing higher scores than older adults. Unexpectedly, no significant age difference was found for Digit Span Backwards raw scores or DASS-21 scores. Implications for retrieval or encoding differences with age and future research are discussed in terms of the current findings.

Additional Information

Burkett, E.H. (2014). Retrieval of Episodic Autobiographical Memories in Older Adults. Unpublished master’s thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2014
Autobiographical memory , Episodic memory retrieval , Imagability and memory , Older adult autobiographical memory ,

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