Age Differences in Context Integration in Memory

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Abstract

This research examined the role of contextual integration in memories of younger and older adults. In 2 experiments, recall of a target picture to a context picture cue was better when sentences were generated that integrated the picture pair and when the picture pairs were already related to each other. Age differences were smallest when sentences were generated for semantically related pairs. Older adults generated the same type sentences as younger adults, although they generated fewer integrations for unrelated pairs. In a 3rd experiment, younger adults could not differentiate between younger- and older-generated sentences from Experiment 1, and the sentences did not differentially affect recall performance. The results are discussed in terms of age differences in self-initiated processing when using context.

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