Poster C87, Sunday, March 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
The role of prior knowledge during automatic and controlled memory retrieval in younger and older adults
Tarek Amer1,2, Kelly S. Giovanello3, Cheryl L. Grady1,2, Lynn Hasher1,2; 1University of Toronto, 2Rotman Research Institute, 3University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Older adults typically show associative memory deficits relative to younger adults. This deficit, however, is mediated by the meaningfulness of the materials used and consistency of the information with prior knowledge. Older and younger adults, for example, show equivalent associative memory for realistic, but not unrealistic, prices of groceries. This effect has been interpreted as facilitative learning through schematic support. The current study examines the role of memory retrieval on this effect. Using the same paradigm, older and younger adults retrieved realistic and unrealistic item prices in a speeded automatic retrieval condition, or in a slowed controlled retrieval condition. There were no age differences in memory for realistic prices in either condition, however, younger adults showed better memory for unrealistic prices in the controlled retrieval condition only. These results suggest that age-related deficits in memory for arbitrary associations can be, at least partly, accounted for by impairments in controlled retrieval.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Development & aging