What you know can influence what you are going to know (especially for older adults)


Stimuli related to an individual's knowledge/experience are often more memorable than abstract stimuli, particularly for older adults. This has been found when material that is congruent with knowledge is contrasted with material that is incongruent with knowledge, but there is little research on a possible graded effect of congruency. The present study manipulated the degree of congruency of study material with participants' knowledge. Young and older participants associated two famous names to nonfamous faces, where the similarity between the nonfamous faces and the real famous individuals varied. These associations were incrementally easier to remember as the name-face combinations became more congruent with prior knowledge, demonstrating a graded congruency effect, as opposed to an effect based simply on the presence or absence of associations to prior knowledge. Older adults tended to show greater susceptibility to the effect than young adults, with a significant age difference for extreme stimuli, in line with previous literature showing that schematic support in memory tasks particularly benefits older adults.

DOI: 10.3758/s13423-014-0672-8

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@inproceedings{Badham2015WhatYK, title={What you know can influence what you are going to know (especially for older adults)}, author={Stephen P. Badham and Elizabeth Ann Maylor}, booktitle={Psychonomic bulletin & review}, year={2015} }