The Influence of Selective Attention during Memory Retrieval on Subsequent Memory Performance in Young and Older Adults

Abstract

Much effort has been devoted to exploring the ways in which manipulating attention during encoding influences performance on memory tasks (Craik et al., 1996). However, fewer studies have examined the effects of manipulating attention during memory retrieval. The purpose of this study was to further examine selective attention at retrieval in the young and elderly. Younger and older adult participants were exposed to a study list followed by a recognition test. Participants made memory decisions under selective attention or full attention conditions (Dudukovic et al., 2009). Participants then completed a memory test consisting of items that had been previously tested under full attention, selective attention, and selectively ignored conditions as well as previously untested items. The results suggest that selective attention during retrieval does not result in significant costs for memory decisions regardless of age group. The results are discussed with reference to current theories of aging, attention, and memory.


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