Younger and Older Adults’ Associative Memory for Social Information: The Role of Information Importance

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The ability to associate items in memory is critical for social interactions. Older adults show deficits in remembering associative information but can sometimes remember high-value information. In two experiments, younger and older participants studied faces, names, and occupations that were of differing social value. There were no age differences in the recall of important information in Experiment 1, but age differences were present for less important information. In Experiment 2, when younger adults’ encoding time was reduced, age differences were largely absent. These findings are considered in light of value-directed strategies when remembering social associative information.

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