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J Exp Psychol Gen. 2005 Feb;134(1):38-51.

The allure of the alignable: younger and older adults' false memories of choice features.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA. mather@ucsc.edu

Abstract

When making choices, people often try to directly compare the features of different options rather than evaluating each option separately. Not every feature has an analogous (or alignable) feature in the other option, however. In this study, both younger and older adults filled in such gaps when remembering, creating features in the other option to contrast with existing features. Thus, participants had a tendency to remember choice options as more comparable than they originally were. High performance on tasks tapping strategic processing was associated with a pattern of mostly feature-based comparisons during choice for older adults but with a pattern of mostly option-based comparisons for younger adults. This pattern suggests that younger and older adults' comparison processes are influenced by different goals.

PMID:
15702962
DOI:
10.1037/0096-3445.134.1.38
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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