Two experiments address the degree to which item memory - the ability to remember that a word has been presented - is dissociable from source memory, or the ability to remember the context of that word's presentation. Spacing (as opposed to massing) an item's two presentations leads young adults to endorse that item more often when they are instructed to recognize it and to reject it more often when they are instructed to exclude it. Old adults also enjoy beneficial effects of spacing when the item is to be recognized, but suffer detrimental effects of the spacing manipulation when the item is to be rejected: They falsely endorse the spaced to-be-rejected items more than the massed ones. This dissociation also obtains with young subjects under conditions of increased time pressure: Under normal decision conditions, the ability to endorse to-be-recognized items and to reject to-be-rejected items increases with spacing; under speeded conditions, the ability to reject the latter items decreases with spacing. The results support the notion that source memory is selectively impaired in the elderly and that it is difficult to access mnemonic information about source under time pressure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)