Poster C59, Sunday, March 25, 1:00-3:00 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Definition-based unitization improves associative memory of older adults: mechanism and training studies
Juan Li1, Baoxi Wang1, Zhiwei Zheng1; 1Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Unitization has been shown to enhance familiarity-based associative recognition in younger adults, but it is less clear whether it would reduce older adults’ associative memory deficits given their preserved familiarity. In Experiment 1, event-related potential (ERPs) were recorded during retrieval phase of an associative memory task. The results showed that older adults’ associative recognition performance under unitized encoding was related to the frontal old/new effect only, and significantly superior to that under un-unitized encoding which was reflected in the parietal old/new effect only, suggesting that during retrieval phase relatively preserved familiarity in older adults helped to enhance their associative memory performance.Experiment 2 further proved that unrelated word pair was integrated into a single-concept (item) representation during unitized encoding phase via a divided-attention paradigm. The results showed that only the divided attention with item processing (but not divided attention with relational processing) significantly reduced associative memory performance under unitized encoding. In experiment 3 we tested the hypothesis whether training via unitized encoding strategy would produce larger gains for older adults compared with traditional non-unitized strategy training. Older adults were randomly assigned to definition training, sentence training and control groups. The results showed the training effect was comparable between two training groups in general. But participants’ verbal ability mediated their training gains from definition encoding. Specifically, older adults with higher verbal ability indeed gained more from definition than sentence training.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Development & aging