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A New Look at Retest Learning in Older Adults: Learning in the Absence of Item-Specific Effects

By Lixia Yang, Maureen Reed, Frank A. Russo and Andrea Wilkinson

Abstract

We investigated retest learning (i.e., performance improvement through retest practice) in the absence of item-specific effects (i.e., learning through memorizing or becoming familiar with specific items) with older adults. Thirty-one older adults (ages 60--82 years, M = 71.10, SD = 6.27) participated in an eight-session self-guided retest program. To eliminate item-specific effects, parallel versions of representative psychometric measures for Inductive Reasoning, Perceptual Speed, and Visual Attention were developed and administered across retest sessions. The results showed substantial non-item-specific retest learning, even controlling for anxiety, suggesting that retest learning in older adults can occur at a more conceptual level. Copyright 2009, Oxford University Press.

DOI identifier: 10.1093/geronb
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