ERIC Number: ED253817
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Age Effects in the Use of Sentence Context in Visual Word Recognition.
Madden, David J.
Age-related deficits may exist in episodic memory (knowledge of the context in which an item appeared previously) and semantic memory (knowledge of an item's meaning independent of the context). In order to examine adult age differences in semantic priming effects and subsequent episodic retention for visually presented words, 24 young (18-22 years) and 24 older (58 to 74 years) adults participated in a lexical decision task, requiring subjects to decide whether a "target" letter string is a word or a nonword. Each of the word targets was presented as the final item of a sentence context (i.e., a prime) that was either semantically congruous, incongruous, or neutral with regard to the target. The perceptual difficulty of the target was also varied. The semantic priming effects in lexical decision reaction time were equivalent in magnitude for the young and older adults. The reaction time data appeared to represent a generalized, age-related slowing in the speed of information processing. In unexpected tests of recall and recognition for the target words, the older adults performed significantly worse than the young adults. The present results indicate that age-related deficits in episodic memory are not accompanied by substantial changes in semantic encoding ability. (Author/BH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society (37th, San Antonio, TX, November 16-20, 1984).