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Psychol Aging. 1994 Mar;9(1):160-70.

Aging and the effects of affective and factual focus on source monitoring and recall.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, George Washington University.


Pairs of young and elderly Ss participated in a short play and were then instructed to talk about factual or affective aspects of the play or to talk about the play without any particular focus suggested. In both the affective and control condition, older adults' ability to discriminate what they had said from what the other person had said was poorer than that of young adults. In contrast, when induced to focus on the factual content of the events, older Ss' source monitoring improved, and the age difference was reduced. The pattern was similar when Ss' ability to discriminate what they had said from what they had thought was examined. Furthermore, affective focus lowered the overall level of recall for both young and older Ss and led older Ss, in particular, to introduce more elaborations into their recall. The possibility that age difference in remembering content and source are related to type of focus is discussed.

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