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Sequential difficulty effects during execution of memory strategies in young and older adults

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This study aimed at uncovering factors influencing execution of memory strategies and at furthering our understanding of ageing effects on memory performance. To achieve this end, we investigated strategy sequential difficulty (SSD) effects recently demonstrated by Uittenhove and Lemaire in the domain of problem solving. We found that both young and older participants correctly recalled more words using a sentence-construction strategy when this strategy followed an easier strategy (i.e., repetition strategy) or a harder strategy (i.e., mental-image strategy). These SSD effects were of equal magnitude in young and older adults, correlated significantly with Stroop performance in both young and older adults and correlated with N-back performance only in young adults. These findings have important implications for furthering our understanding of memory strategy execution and age-related variations in memory performance, as well for understanding mechanisms underlying SSD effects.
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Keywords: Encoding; Executive functions; Recall; Sequential difficulty; Strategy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Marseille & Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Aix-Marseille University, Marseille, France 2: Département de Psychologie, Université François-Rabelais and UMR-CNRS 7295 ‘Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition et l’Apprentissage’, Tours, France

Publication date: August 18, 2015

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