Maximizing the benefits and minimizing the costs of repeated memory tests for young and older adults
Repeatedly trying to remember information can help people remember more but can also lead to inaccuracies. Two experiments examined whether the costs of repeated recall efforts can be minimized for older adults by using memory tests that require specification of the source of recalled items. Participants saw and imagined pictures and then took 3 successive recall tests in which they either indicated the source of each remembered item (source recall) or simply recalled the items without specification of their source (free recall). Results showed that recall increased systematically from Test 1 to Test 3, although the rate of increase was less marked for older adults, and older adults recalled less overall. After the free recall tests, older adults made more source misattributions (claiming to have seen imagined items) than did young adults, but after the source recall tests, age differences were not significant. Thus, repeatedly recalling items while considering their source was associated with benefits in terms of increased recall and fewer costs in terms of source errors.
Psychology and Aging
Henkel, Linda, "Maximizing the benefits and minimizing the costs of repeated memory tests for young and older adults" (2008). Psychology Faculty Publications. 2.
Henkel, L. A. (2008). Maximizing the benefits and minimizing the costs of repeated memory tests for young and older adults. Psychology and Aging, 23, 250-262.