The effect of memory cue duration on performance in the directed forgetting task in healthy aging

Kyle A. Kurkela, Catherine M. Carpenter, Harini Babu, Jordan D. Chamberlain, Courtney Allen, Nancy A. Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although forgetting is usually considered a memory error, intentional forgetting can function as an adaptive mechanism. The current study examined the effect of increased processing time on directed forgetting in aging as a mechanism to compensate for age-related forgetting. Specifically, an item-method directed forgetting paradigm was used in conjunction with Remember/Know/New responding to examine the effect of cue duration (1, 3, 5 s) on directed forgetting and remembering in younger and older adults. Results indicated that increased processing time improved performance in both age groups. Critically, older adults exhibited a linear increase in directed remembering performance across all cue durations which was related to individual differences in cognitive reserve. Specifically, those older adults with the highest levels of cognitive functioning showed the greatest memory benefit in the longest cue duration condition. These findings indicate the importance of processing time in accounting for intentional memory performance in older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-964
Number of pages22
JournalAging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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