Using text structure to improve older adults’ recall of important medical information

G. Elizabeth Rice, Bonnie J.F. Meyer, David C. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This study makes use of the “levels effect” in prose recall to increase older adults’ recall of important medical information. Seventy older adults (over 65) read and recalled two passages containing medical information about hypertension and arthritis. Half of the adults read the passages in which the text structure had been revised so that target ideas (identified as important by physician consultants) were located at the highest levels of the content structure. Recall of target ideas, details, and total number of ideas were investigated. Results showed an increase in recall of target ideas for the revised passages. Education, medical condition, and age also affected recall to differing degrees depending on the measure studied. The results indicate that older adults remain sensitive to differences in prose structure and that their memory for important information can be improved by use of principles developed with younger subject groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-542
Number of pages16
JournalEducational Gerontology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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