Aging and recognition memory: A meta-analysis

Scott H. Fraundorf, Kathleen L. Hourihan, Rachel A. Peters, Aaron S Benjamin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Recognizing a stimulus as previously encountered is a crucial everyday life skill and a critical task motivating theoretical development in models of human memory. Although there are clear age-related memory deficits in tasks requiring recall or memory for context, the existence and nature of age differences in recognition memory remain unclear. The nature of any such deficits is critical to understanding the effects of age on memory because recognition tasks allow fewer strategic backdoors to supporting memory than do tasks of recall. Consequently, recognition may provide the purest measure of age-related memory deficit of all standard memory tasks. We conducted a meta-analysis of 232 prior experiments on age differences in recognition memory. As an organizing framework, we used signaldetection theory (Green & Swets, 1966; Macmillan & Creelman, 2005) to characterize recognition memory in terms of both discrimination between studied items and unstudied lures (d=) and response bias or criterion (c). Relative to young adults, older adults showed reduced discrimination accuracy and a more liberal response criterion (i.e., greater tendency to term items new). Both of these effects were influenced by multiple, differing variables, with larger age deficits when studied material must be discriminated from familiar or related material, but smaller when studying semantically rich materials. These results support a view in which neither the self-initiation of mnemonic processes nor the deployment of strategic processes is the only source of age-related memory deficits, and they add to our understanding of the mechanisms underlying those changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-371
Number of pages33
JournalPsychological bulletin
Volume145
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2019

Fingerprint

Meta-Analysis
Memory Disorders
Recognition (Psychology)
Young Adult

Keywords

  • Cognitive aging
  • Memory aging
  • Meta-analysis
  • Recognition memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Aging and recognition memory : A meta-analysis. / Fraundorf, Scott H.; Hourihan, Kathleen L.; Peters, Rachel A.; Benjamin, Aaron S.

In: Psychological bulletin, Vol. 145, No. 4, 04.2019, p. 339-371.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fraundorf, SH, Hourihan, KL, Peters, RA & Benjamin, AS 2019, 'Aging and recognition memory: A meta-analysis', Psychological bulletin, vol. 145, no. 4, pp. 339-371. https://doi.org/10.1037/bul0000185
Fraundorf, Scott H. ; Hourihan, Kathleen L. ; Peters, Rachel A. ; Benjamin, Aaron S. / Aging and recognition memory : A meta-analysis. In: Psychological bulletin. 2019 ; Vol. 145, No. 4. pp. 339-371.
@article{6d28da656887462a942a8994b3318f85,
title = "Aging and recognition memory: A meta-analysis",
abstract = "Recognizing a stimulus as previously encountered is a crucial everyday life skill and a critical task motivating theoretical development in models of human memory. Although there are clear age-related memory deficits in tasks requiring recall or memory for context, the existence and nature of age differences in recognition memory remain unclear. The nature of any such deficits is critical to understanding the effects of age on memory because recognition tasks allow fewer strategic backdoors to supporting memory than do tasks of recall. Consequently, recognition may provide the purest measure of age-related memory deficit of all standard memory tasks. We conducted a meta-analysis of 232 prior experiments on age differences in recognition memory. As an organizing framework, we used signaldetection theory (Green & Swets, 1966; Macmillan & Creelman, 2005) to characterize recognition memory in terms of both discrimination between studied items and unstudied lures (d=) and response bias or criterion (c). Relative to young adults, older adults showed reduced discrimination accuracy and a more liberal response criterion (i.e., greater tendency to term items new). Both of these effects were influenced by multiple, differing variables, with larger age deficits when studied material must be discriminated from familiar or related material, but smaller when studying semantically rich materials. These results support a view in which neither the self-initiation of mnemonic processes nor the deployment of strategic processes is the only source of age-related memory deficits, and they add to our understanding of the mechanisms underlying those changes.",
keywords = "Cognitive aging, Memory aging, Meta-analysis, Recognition memory",
author = "Fraundorf, {Scott H.} and Hourihan, {Kathleen L.} and Peters, {Rachel A.} and Benjamin, {Aaron S}",
year = "2019",
month = "4",
doi = "10.1037/bul0000185",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "145",
pages = "339--371",
journal = "Psychological Bulletin",
issn = "0033-2909",
publisher = "American Psychological Association Inc.",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Aging and recognition memory

T2 - A meta-analysis

AU - Fraundorf, Scott H.

AU - Hourihan, Kathleen L.

AU - Peters, Rachel A.

AU - Benjamin, Aaron S

PY - 2019/4

Y1 - 2019/4

N2 - Recognizing a stimulus as previously encountered is a crucial everyday life skill and a critical task motivating theoretical development in models of human memory. Although there are clear age-related memory deficits in tasks requiring recall or memory for context, the existence and nature of age differences in recognition memory remain unclear. The nature of any such deficits is critical to understanding the effects of age on memory because recognition tasks allow fewer strategic backdoors to supporting memory than do tasks of recall. Consequently, recognition may provide the purest measure of age-related memory deficit of all standard memory tasks. We conducted a meta-analysis of 232 prior experiments on age differences in recognition memory. As an organizing framework, we used signaldetection theory (Green & Swets, 1966; Macmillan & Creelman, 2005) to characterize recognition memory in terms of both discrimination between studied items and unstudied lures (d=) and response bias or criterion (c). Relative to young adults, older adults showed reduced discrimination accuracy and a more liberal response criterion (i.e., greater tendency to term items new). Both of these effects were influenced by multiple, differing variables, with larger age deficits when studied material must be discriminated from familiar or related material, but smaller when studying semantically rich materials. These results support a view in which neither the self-initiation of mnemonic processes nor the deployment of strategic processes is the only source of age-related memory deficits, and they add to our understanding of the mechanisms underlying those changes.

AB - Recognizing a stimulus as previously encountered is a crucial everyday life skill and a critical task motivating theoretical development in models of human memory. Although there are clear age-related memory deficits in tasks requiring recall or memory for context, the existence and nature of age differences in recognition memory remain unclear. The nature of any such deficits is critical to understanding the effects of age on memory because recognition tasks allow fewer strategic backdoors to supporting memory than do tasks of recall. Consequently, recognition may provide the purest measure of age-related memory deficit of all standard memory tasks. We conducted a meta-analysis of 232 prior experiments on age differences in recognition memory. As an organizing framework, we used signaldetection theory (Green & Swets, 1966; Macmillan & Creelman, 2005) to characterize recognition memory in terms of both discrimination between studied items and unstudied lures (d=) and response bias or criterion (c). Relative to young adults, older adults showed reduced discrimination accuracy and a more liberal response criterion (i.e., greater tendency to term items new). Both of these effects were influenced by multiple, differing variables, with larger age deficits when studied material must be discriminated from familiar or related material, but smaller when studying semantically rich materials. These results support a view in which neither the self-initiation of mnemonic processes nor the deployment of strategic processes is the only source of age-related memory deficits, and they add to our understanding of the mechanisms underlying those changes.

KW - Cognitive aging

KW - Memory aging

KW - Meta-analysis

KW - Recognition memory

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85062956298&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85062956298&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1037/bul0000185

DO - 10.1037/bul0000185

M3 - Article

C2 - 30640498

AN - SCOPUS:85062956298

VL - 145

SP - 339

EP - 371

JO - Psychological Bulletin

JF - Psychological Bulletin

SN - 0033-2909

IS - 4

ER -