Normal aging has been shown to spare recency effects in the initiation of free recall while disrupting temporally defined associations. The temporal context model (TCM) explains recency and temporally defined associations as consequences of a gradually changing context signal and recovery of those contextual states, respectively. Here we extend TCM to account for the dissociation between recency and temporally defined associations in younger and older adults. Modeling results suggested that the effect of aging was restricted to a decrement in the ability of items to recover the temporal contexts in which they were presented, a function that has been hypothesized to depend on the hippocampus.
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