The degree to which processing resources are responsible for age differences in performance on recall and recognition tasks was examined in this study. To examine this, a secondary task incorporating a memory component (digit preloads) was implemented during retrieval. Results revealed that older adults, relative to younger adults, exhibited greater decrements in secondary task performance as the difficulty of the secondary task increased. These age differences were greater in the recall task than in the recognition task. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that speed accounted for the largest proportion of age-related variance in the recall task while both speed and working memory contributed to much of the secondary task variance. Results confirm the hypothesis that recall requires greater processing capacity than recognition and that older adults have greater processing-capacity limitations than younger adults.
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