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Poster E1

Investigating the Cognitive Correlates of Semantic and Perceptual False Memory in Older and Younger Adults: A Multi-Group Latent Variable Approach

Poster Session E - Monday, April 15, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

John T. West1 (, Rebecca L. Wagner1, Ashley Steinkrauss2, Nancy A. Dennis1; 1The Pennsylvania State University, 2Boston College

Falsely remembering information can have negative consequences for day-to-day functioning, and can be especially problematic for older adults who experience higher rates of false memory. Because there is considerable variability between older adults in memory and cognition, it is essential that we understand the factors that place older individuals at risk for developing false memories. Whereas lower frontal functioning has previously been related to false memory in general, prior research suggests that there may also be domain-specificity in the factors associated with false memory. To test this possibility, 211 young adults and 152 older adults completed tasks measuring semantic false memory, perceptual false memory, semantic discrimination, perceptual discrimination, and frontal functioning. Structural equation modeling revealed that – contrary to predictions – individual differences in semantic and perceptual false memory were best captured by a single, domain-general false memory factor. Although cognitive abilities were not uniquely related to false memory when assessed together, semantic ability, perceptual ability, and frontal functioning were all negatively associated with false memory in isolation. Importantly, the extent to which these cognitive abilities protected against false memory did not differ between older and younger adults. Results suggest that for both older and younger adults, individual differences in the tendency to falsely remember information are reflected by a domain-general construct that has negative (yet redundant) associations with various cognitive abilities.

Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Development & aging


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April 13–16  |  2024