Aging, imagery, and the bizarreness effect
ABSTRACT This study examined the bizarre imagery effect in young and older adults, under incidental and intentional conditions. Intentionality was manipulated across experiments, with participants receiving an incidental free recall test in Experiment 1 and an intentional test in Experiment 2. This study also examined the relation between working memory resources and the bizarreness effect. In Experiment 1 young and older adults were presented with common and bizarre sentences; they later received an incidental recall test. There were no age differences in sensitivity to the bizarreness effect in Experiment 1 when ANOVAs were used to analyze the data. However, when the bizarreness effect was examined in terms of effect size, there was evidence that younger adults produced larger bizarreness effect sizes than younger adults. Experiment 2 further explored age differences in sensitivity to the bizarreness effect by presenting young and older adults with bizarre and common sentences under intentional learning conditions. Experiment 2 failed to yield age differences as a function of item type (bizarre vs. common). In addition, Experiment 2 failed to yield significant evidence that the bizarreness effect is modulated by working memory resources. The results of this study are most consistent with the distinctiveness account of the bizarreness effect.