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Repeated study of items with and without repeated context: aging effects on memory discriminability

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Presenting items multiple times during encoding is a common way to enhance recognition accuracy. Under such conditions, older adults often show an increase in false recognition that counteracts benefits of repeated study. Using a false-memory paradigm with related study items and related lures, we tested whether repetition within the same encoding task or repetition across two different encoding tasks would be more beneficial to older adults’ memory discriminability. Results showed that, compared to items not repeated at study, items repeated in the same context and items repeated across different contexts showed improvements in memory discriminability in both young and older adults. This improvement was primarily reflected in improved recollection responses for both age groups across both repeat study conditions, as compared to no repetition. Importantly, the results demonstrated that repetition can be used to successfully mitigate age-related deficits by increasing memory discriminability and without incurring a cost of false recognition specific to any one age group.
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Keywords: Repeated encoding; aging; memory; recollection

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, State college, PA, USA 2: Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA

Publication date: May 28, 2018

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