Stimulus exposure time as a factor in serial learning in an aged sample

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Stimulus exposure and learning in old (O) and young (Y) Ss was investigated. Lists of 8 words equated for size, association value, and structure were used in a serial rote learning task with a 1-sec. interword interval and a 45-sec. intertrial interval. 3 groups of Y (M = 37.3 yr.) and O (M = 66.5 yr.) men received exposure times of 4, 6, or 8 sec., comprising a 3 X 2 A of V design (N = 81). WAIS Vocabulary scores served as a control. Conclusions are: (a) Y Ss learned better than O (p < .01), (b) O Ss showed a monotonic decrease in errors from 4- to 8-sec. conditions (p < .05), (c) Y Ss showed a rise in errors during the 8-sec. condition (p < .05). Study 2 involved 48 O men in a similar paradigm but with varying stimulus exposures. Group 8-4-8 received Trials 1–7 and 10–15 for 8 sec. and Trials 8 and 9 for 4 sec.; for Group 4-8-4 the times were reversed. Performance on the critical (7th-10th trials) demonstrated that time to respond rather than exposure was related to improved performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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