Separating habit and recollection in young and older adults: Effects of elaborative processing and distinctiveness.
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An extension of L. L. Jacoby's (1991) process-dissociation procedure was used to examine the effects of aging on recollection and automatic influences of memory (habit). Experiment 1 showed that older adults were impaired in their ability to engage in recollection but did not differ from young adults in their reliance on habit. Elderly adults were also less able to exploit distinctive contextual information to enhance recollection. Experiments 2 and 3 showed that with more supportive conditions, older adults were able to benefit from distinctive contextual information. Quantitative and qualitative deficits in recollective abilities are interpreted within a dual-process model of memory. The problem of distinguishing between a deficit in recollection and a deficit in inhibitory processes in older adults (e.g., L. Hasher & R. T. Zacks, 1988) and the importance of this distinction for purposes of repairing memory performance are discussed.
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