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Aging and the Ranschburg effect : no evidence of reduced response suppression in old age

By Elizabeth A. Maylor and Richard N. A. Henson


Two experiments tested 1 aspect of L. Hasher and R. T. Zacks's (1988) reduced inhibition hypothesis, namely, that old age impairs the ability to suppress information in working memory that is no longer relevant. In Experiment 1, young and older adults were asked to recall lists of letters in the correct order. Half of the lists contained repeated items while half were control lists. Recall of nonadjacent repeated items was worse than that of control items. This Ranschburg effect was larger (i.e., greater response suppression) in older than in young adults. In Experiment 2, young and order adults were required either to recall the list or to report if there was a repeated item. Repetition detection was high and similar in the 2 age groups. When age differences in overall performance were taken into account, there was evidence of increased repetition inhibition with age in both experiments. Thus, contrary to the general reduced inhibition hypothesis, the specific process of response suppression during serial recall is not reduced by aging

Topics: BF
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Year: 2000
DOI identifier: 10.1037//0882-7974.15.4.657
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