Relative to young adults, older adults typically exhibit a reduced ability to accurately remember associations between stimuli. Prior research has assumed that this age-related memory impairment affects different types of associations similarly. However, research in young adults has suggested that item-item and item- context associations are supported by different underlying neural mechanisms that could be unequally affected by aging. This experiment compared memory across association types in younger and older adults by presenting the same types of stimuli as either item-item or item- context pairs. Manner of presentation during retrieval was also manipulated so that pairs were presented in a manner that was either congruent or incongruent with their presentation during encoding. Older adults showed a particular benefit of encoding-retrieval congruency for item- context associations, supporting the idea that the associative deficit may be reduced by unitization at encoding and reinstatement of this prior stimulus configuration at retrieval.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Geriatrics and Gerontology