Do performance strategies mediate age-related differences in associative learning?

Wendy A. Rogers, D. Kristen Gilbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Associative learning is a basic component of most learning tasks and has been shown to decline with age. The authors examined associative learning for younger and older adults by using a noun-pair task. Interim testing and prior practice on a similar task were the manipulated variables. Participants were encouraged to use an efficient retrieval strategy. Interim tests-provided the motivation to learn the information, whereas prior practice on a similar task was presumed to make the task easier. The authors examined these variables both independently and interactively. For younger adults, performance benefited little from prior practice but did benefit from interim testing. For older adults, interim tests were beneficial for development of a retrieval strategy irrespective of prior training. Prior training proved beneficial for development of a retrieval strategy in the absence of interim tests. Thus, task parameters influenced the performance strategy (and learning), especially of older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)620-633
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology and aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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