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Poster F68

Curiosity effects sparked by unsuccessful memory recall in cognitive aging

Poster Session F - Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Rachel Sargeson1,2 (, Gregory Brooks1,2, Nicole Anderson4,5,6, Stefan Köhler1,3; 1Western University, 2Graduate Program in Neuroscience, 3Department of Psychology, 4Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences, 5Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, 6University of Toronto

A well-established finding in cognitive aging is that familiarity of items tends to be preserved in the context of unsuccessful recall of related associations. The present study addressed whether experiences of face familiarity, in combination with failed recall of corresponding names, induce states of curiosity that shape subsequent information seeking behavior and carry benefits for re-learning. Experiment 1 investigated whether older adults exhibit the same familiarity-based preference in information-seeking behaviour for unrecalled names that was previously reported in younger adults. Experiment 2 examined whether an opportunity to act on this curiosity would provide comparable benefits for re-learning of names in younger and older adults. Experiment 3 aimed to replicate and extend Experiment 2 by determining whether such benefits for re-learning can be directly tied to corresponding curiosity ratings. Across experiments, the older adults displayed a similar, if not more pronounced, positive relationship between face familiarity (under conditions of unsuccessful name recall) and choices in subsequent information seeking as was observed in younger adults. Giving participants an opportunity to leverage their own curiosity for re-learning of initially unrecalled names of familiar faces led to higher subsequent recall accuracy rates than exposure to those names under conditions in which curiosity could not be acted upon, with a comparable pattern for older and younger adults. The present findings add new evidence to the extant literature on preserved curiosity effects in old age. Critically, they also reveal behavioural benefits of this preserved curiosity that may help overcome age-related memory impairment.

Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Development & aging


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April 13–16  |  2024