Adult age differences in the forward testing effect

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Paige L. Kemp (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Christopher Wahlheim

Abstract: Testing previously learned information can enhance subsequent learning of new information. This benefit was originally attributed to contextual segregation, but recent work suggests that testing can promote integrative encoding of competing information. This present study examined the extent to which such testing benefits older and younger adults by promoting such integration. Subjects studied two lists of associated word pairs that either repeated across lists, appeared only in the second list, or included the same cue with a changed response, and then completed a cued-recall test for List 2 responses. Between the lists, subjects completed a cued recall test with feedback or without feedback for some of the List 1 pairings that would later change. Participants indicated when they recollected that responses changed across lists and reported List 1 responses for those instances. Integrative encoding was inferred from instances of change recollection. Both groups showed a testing benefit on memory for changed pairs, but younger adults showed overall higher performance. More changes were recollected for tested than non-tested items, and change recollection was associated with higher List 2 recall. Feedback increase change recollection, but the benefits were offset by greater interference when change was not recollected. Critically, older adults recollected change less than younger adults and benefitted less when they recollected change. Together, these results suggest that testing promoted integrative encoding for both age groups, but older adults enjoyed these benefits on fewer trials and to a lesser degree.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2021
Integration, Proactive effects, Retrieval practice, Testing effect
Recollection (Psychology)
Memory $x Age factors
Memory $x Testing

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