Within-category similarity negatively affects associative memory performance in both younger and older adults

C. M. Carpenter, C. E. Webb, A. A. Overman, N. A. Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Associative memory involves the ability to encode and remember the relationship between individual items. This ability can become diminished when there is a high degree of similarity between stimuli that are being learned. Associative memory errors often stem from the fact that lures include a high degree of item familiarity as well as mnemonic similarity with the original associative episode. The current set of experiments examined how this overlap, in the form of within-category similarity, affects veridical and false retrieval in both younger and older adults. Across three experiments, results suggest that mnemonic overlap between targets and lures is detrimental to the ability to discriminate between highly similar information. Specifically, shared category membership for targets and lures led to increased false associative memories across age groups. These results have implications for scenarios where there is a high degree of overlap between target and lure events and indicate that these types of associative memory distinctions are difficult irrespective of age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-91
Number of pages15
JournalMemory
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology

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