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J Exp Psychol Hum Learn. 1979 Mar;5(2):115-24.

Depth and elaboration of processing in relation to age.


Processing at encoding and retrieval was jointly manipulated, and then the retrieval effectiveness of different cues was directly compared to uncover the relative pattern of deep and elaborate processing in relation to both age and different experimental manipulations. In experiment 1 phonemic and semantic cues were effective retrieval aids for to-be-remembered words in the youngest group; with increasing age, semantic cues decreased in effectiveness more than phonemic cues. These data showed phonemic features to have an importance that is not recognized in the data generated by the typical levels paradigm. When elaboration of the words was induced in Experiment 2 by presenting them in sentences, semantic and context cues were most effective in the youngest group whereas phonemic cues were most effective in the oldest group. Since the pattern of cue effectiveness in the elderly was similar to that in Experiment 1, where the same words were presented alone, it was concluded that aging results in poor elaboration, in particular, in inefficient integration of word events with the context of presentation. These age effects were mimicked in young subjects in Experiment 3 by experimentally restricting encoding time. The present approach uses somewhat modified views of depth and elaboration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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