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Exp Aging Res. 2019 May-Jun;45(3):252-265. doi: 10.1080/0361073X.2019.1609163. Epub 2019 Apr 25.

Memory for Weather Information in Younger and Older Adults: Tests of Verbatim and Gist Memory.

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a Department of Psychology , University of California , Los Angeles , CA , USA.


Background/Study Context: Memory for specific, verbatim details tends to decline with age, and reliance on gist-based information increases. However, instructions that direct attention toward certain types of information can benefit memory accuracy for that information. Previous work has examined gist-based and verbatim memory for images, but little work has utilized stimuli that participants may study in their daily lives, such as a weather forecast.


The current study examined how younger and older adults recall both general, gist-based information and specific, verbatim details of a weather forecast, and whether differences in the task instructions to focus on gist-based information may affect recall. Two study-test cycles with different forecasts were used to determine whether experience with the task may affect performance.


While there was no effect of additional gist-based instructions on recall of gist-based information, participants who received the additional instructions recalled fewer verbatim details than those who did not. There were no age-related differences in recall of the gist of the forecast, but younger adults correctly recalled more verbatim details than older adults did.


Environmental support and use of gist-based processing can allow both younger and older adults to remember information that can be useful in their daily lives. The current study informs future research on prospective memory and memory for everyday information.

[Available on 2020-05-01]

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