Contributions of Source and Inhibitory Mechanisms to Age-Related Retroactive Interference in Verbal Working Memory

Trey Hedden, Denise C. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations

Abstract

Determining contributions of source-monitoring and inhibitory function to age-related forgetting has been an elusive goal for cognitive theorists. Five studies used a verbal working memory paradigm to examine mechanisms accounting for disproportionate retroactive interference (RI) experienced with adult aging. Participants distinguished studied target-word pairs from interfering pairs that were read aloud. Source-monitoring and inhibitory task components varied through manipulations of response requirements. RI effects were primarily due to source-monitoring failures rather than to inhibitory failures. Removing both source and inhibitory components eliminated age differences in RI. When source monitoring was emphasized, RI continued to be observed in all age groups but disproportionately for older adults. Process dissociation analyses of memory found recollection decreases and familiarity increases consistent with source failures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-112
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Volume132
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes

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