Medication schemas and memory for automated telephone messages

D. Morrow, L. M. Carver, V. O. Leirer, E. D. Tanke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study investigated whether older and younger adults use a schema to organize and remember spoken reminder messages for taking medication. Previous research has shown that older and younger adults share preferences for organizing printed instructions for taking medication, suggesting a shared schema. Older and younger participants in Experiment 1 of the present study used a similar schema to organize medication reminder messages. This finding suggests that the medication schema generalizes across communication purpose (to remind or to instruct) as well as across patient age. Medication reminder messages were better understood and remembered when organized to match this schema, whether the reminders were presented as automated telephone messages (Experiment 2) or in printed form (Experiment 3). Schema-compatible organization especially helped people draw inferences from the messages, suggesting that organization helps older and younger adults construct a situation model of the medication-taking task from the messages. Potential applications of organized messages include increasing the impact of automated systems for delivering health services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-540
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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