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Psychol Aging. 2000 Mar;15(1):88-99.

The effects of talker familiarity on spoken word identification in younger and older listeners.

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Department of Psychology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri 63130, USA.


The present study was designed to examine age differences in the ability to use voice information acquired intentionally (Experiment 1) or incidentally (Experiment 2) as an aid to spoken word identification. Following both implicit and explicit voice learning, participants were asked to identify novel words spoken either by familiar talkers (ones they had been exposed to in the training phase) or by 4 unfamiliar voices. In both experiments, explicit memory for talkers' voices was significantly lower in older than in young listeners. Despite this age-related decline in voice recognition, however, older adults exhibited equivalent, and in some cases greater, benefit than young listeners from having words spoken by familiar talkers. Implications of the findings for age-related changes in explicit versus implicit memory systems are discussed.

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