Feature memory and binding in young and older adults

  • Chalfonte B
  • Johnson M
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Abstract

Intact memory for complex events requires not only memory for particular features (e.g., item, location, color, size), but also intact cognitive processes for binding the features together. Binding provides the memorial experience that certain features belong together. The experiments presented here were designed to explicate these as potentially separable sources of age-associated changes in complex memory-namely, to investigate the possibility that age-related changes in memory for complex events arise from deficits in (1) memory for the kinds of information that comprise complex memories, (2) the processes necessary for binding this information into complex memories, or (3) both of these components. Young and older adults were presented with colored items located within an array. Relative to young adults, older adults had a specific and disproportionate deficit in recognition memory for location, but not for item or for color. Also, older adults consistently demonstrated poorer recognition memory for bound information, especially when all features were acquired intentionally. These feature and binding deficits separately contribute to what have been described as older adults' context and source memory impairments.

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Authors

  • Barbara L Chalfonte

  • Marcia K Johnson

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