An opposition procedure for detecting age-related deficits in recollection: Telling effects of repetition.
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In 2 experiments, the advantages of placing automatic and consciously controlled memory processes in opposition to study age-related declines in memory performance were examined. Drawing on the common memory failure of mistakenly repeating oneself, a task was designed in which participants had to rely on conscious memory (recollection) to avoid repetition errors. Recollection proved to be severely affected by aging; older adults showed significantly more repetition errors than did younger adults, even at very short retention intervals. These results contrast sharply with the small age differences found with a standard recognition test. Moreover, L. L. Jacoby's (1991) process-dissociation procedure (Experiment 2) showed that automatic memory processes were unaffected with age and could support recognition performance in older adults. The advantages of the opposition procedure for studying memory in older adults relative to other measures are discussed.
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