Greater priming for previously distracting information in young than older adults when suppression is ruled out

Ward, Emma V. ORCID logoORCID:, De Mornay Davies, Paul ORCID logoORCID: and Politimou, Nina (2015) Greater priming for previously distracting information in young than older adults when suppression is ruled out. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 22 (6) . pp. 712-730. ISSN 1382-5585 [Article] (doi:10.1080/13825585.2015.1035224)

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The use of previously distracting information on memory tests with indirect instructions is usually age-equivalent, while young adults typically show greater explicit memory for such information. This could reflect qualitatively distinct initial processing (encoding) of distracting information by younger and older adults, but could also be caused by greater suppression of such information by younger adults on tasks with indirect instructions. In Experiment 1, young and older adults read stories containing distracting words, which they ignored, before studying a list of words containing previously distracting items for a free recall task. Half the participants were informed of the presence of previously distracting items in the study list prior to recall (direct instruction), and half were not (indirect instruction). Recall of previously distracting words was age-equivalent in the indirect condition, but young adults recalled more distracting words in the direct condition. In Experiment 2, participants performed the continuous identification with recognition task, which captures a measure of perceptual priming and recognition on each trial, and is immune to suppression. Priming and recognition of previously distracting words was greater in younger than older adults, suggesting that the young engage in more successful suppression of previously distracting information on tasks in which its relevance is not overtly signaled.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online: 20 Apr 2015
Keywords (uncontrolled): aging, distraction, priming, implicit memory, suppression
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 15282
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition on 20/04/2015 , available online:
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Depositing User: Emma Ward
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2015 12:29
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 22:23

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