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Psychol Aging. 1989 Sep;4(3):333-8.

Encoding difficulty and memory enhancement for young and older readers.

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Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907.


Memory for text that required active construction (generation) on the part of the reader to comprehend some of the information was examined. (Letters were deleted from the words composing some of the idea units of the text). For both high school students and older adults, idea units that had letters deleted were remembered better than idea units with intact words on a cued-recall test. This pattern held for easier as well as for harder letter deletions. It was concluded that retention of textually presented information can be improved in older adults if the presentation format of the text induces or guides mental operations that support good encoding. Production-deficiency accounts and attentional/resource deficiency accounts of age-related text memory decrements are discussed in light of the present results.

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