Long-Term Retention of a Spatial Mental Model for Younger and Older Adults

D. Kristen Gilbert, Wendy A. Rogers, Mary E. Samuelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mental models are knowledge structures that are used to describe, predict, and explain the system that they represent. Mental models can be useful for both younger and older adults. Past research (Gilbert & Rogers, 1999, Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 54B, P246-P255) indicated that both younger and older adults were able to acquire and utilize a new spatial mental model. Younger and older adult participants from that research returned after a 2-week interval and a group of younger adult participants returned after 4 weeks to determine if their mental model was retained over time. Retention was best for the younger adult 2-week group; performance did not differ for the older adult 2-week and younger adult 4-week groups. Participants who were able to reconstruct the map initially were able to utilize the information very well, regardless of age or retention interval. In addition, both younger and older adults who showed lower initial retention benefited from a brief study time. Implications for refresher training are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-224
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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