Associative recognition of face pairs by younger and older adults: The role of familiarity-based processing.
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Previous research suggested that older adults have a specific impairment in remembering verbal associative information, but it is unclear how elaboration and familiarity might influence this deficit in situations that involve perceptual processing. In the present experiments, younger and older participants studied male-female pairs of faces. Participants were then administered an associative recognition test consisting of previously studied pairs, pairs that contained previously studied items that were not studied together (i.e., conjunction pairs), and entirely new pairs of faces, and participants were instructed to identify pairs that had been presented together at study. Overall, participants were successful at recognizing previously presented pairs but were highly likely to mistakenly endorse conjunction pairs. This pattern was more pronounced for older adults, especially when items were repeated at encoding. Such data suggest that memory for face pairs relies largely on the familiarity of each face and not on a more precise recollection of associative information. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved).
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