Age differences in the vulnerability of facial recognition memory to proactive interference.


A facial recognition memory task was administered to 16 young subjects (age range 18-30) and 28 elderly subjects (age range 63-83). A continuous recognition paradigm was used, in which subjects were instructed to identify the repeated faces in an ongoing series of faces presented on a video monitor screen. A signal detection analysis of the data revealed a mild recognition memory deficit in the elderly, due mainly to an increase in false positives during the second half of the test session. This age-specific increase in late-session false alarms may be a result of increased sensitivity of the aged subjects to proactive interference from previously presented faces. Increasing the length of the delay between the initial and repeat presentation of a face decreased recognition accuracy in both groups, but the young subjects were more sensitive to the delay interval effect than the elderly. Multiple presentations of faces produced a comparable improvement in the recognition accuracy of both young and old subjects. The elderly subjects exhibited a more liberal response bias than the young subjects, indicating that impaired memory task performance of the aged subjects cannot be attributed to a more conservative test-taking strategy.

Cite this paper

@article{Flicker1989AgeDI, title={Age differences in the vulnerability of facial recognition memory to proactive interference.}, author={Charles Flicker and Steven H. Ferris and Thomas H. Crook and Raymond T. Bartus}, journal={Experimental aging research}, year={1989}, volume={15 3-4}, pages={189-94} }