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Age equivalence in the effects of output interference during cued recall

Authors:

Abstract

Age leads to increases in memory interference – an effect that has been continuously demonstrated using retroactive and proactive interference paradigms. One potential exception is output interference (OI), which is marked by gradual declines in memory for related items across successive trials. Earlier research has demonstrated that young and older adults show similar patterns of OI during free recall (Smith, 1975), but this has yet to be tested in other memory tasks. I studied OI in young and older adults by testing cued recall accuracy for noun pairs in which cue words were either drawn from the same taxonomic category or were completely unrelated to each other and target words were unrelated to all other words. After each recall attempt, participants were asked to indicate whether their responses were based on recollection, familiarity, or if they had no memory for an item (R/K/N). Learners in both age groups demonstrated reliable decreases in recall accuracy and increases in errors of omission across successive trials for related items, even when controlling for individual differences in overall memory performance. These changes in memory outcomes were not significantly different between age groups. Interestingly, decreases in memory performance for related items were accompanied by significant decreases in self-reported recollection, but not changes in rates of familiarity or “No Memory”. The lack of differences between age groups violates traditional accounts of interference that implicate the role of semantic competition; instead, I argue that the results are more consistent with a “retrieval suppression” account of OI.
Age equivalence in the eects of
output interference during cued recall
Taylor Curley
Georgia Instute of Technology
Background
Output interference (OI) is a gradual decrease in memory accuracy
as a funcon of an item’s posion in a tesng sequence (Anderson
and Neely, 1996), typically in experiments where memory is cued by
smuli that are semancally-related.
OI is exemplied by decreases in memory accuracy,increases in errors
of omission, and stable intrusion error rates across trials (Wilson et al.,
2020).
Interesngly, both older and young adults show the same levels of OI
during free recall Smith (1975), despite well-known age dierences in
suscepbility to memory interference.
More current theories hypothesize that OI driven by the retrieval pro-
cess itself rather than compeon via shared acvaon.
The current study provides a more thorough invesgaon into the
OI phenomenon by examining memory outcomes in young and older
adults in a cued recall task in which some parcipants are asked to re-
member word pairs with cue words from similar taxonomic categories
while others are asked to remember word pairs that are completely
unrelated to each other.
Methods
SILK
VALLEY
+
Fixation Study Presentation
1s 6s
x 40
STUDY
PHASE
(PART 1) ... x 2
SILK
What is the target word that
is associated with the cue?
?
+
1s
Cued Recall
10s
SILK
How well do you think you
would be able to recognize
the correct cue-target pair?
0 50 100
?
SILK
How would you rate your
memory for the target word?
Remember Know No Memory
?
R/K/N
6s
FOK
6s
x 40
CUED
RECALL
(PART 2)
Fixation
+
1s
SILK: ?
Please click the word that is
associated with the word at
the top of the screen.
SOCCER
WOLF
FLOOD
Please rate your confidence
that you chose the correct
cue-item pair.
0 50 100
4AFC
6s
RCJ
6s
x 40
4AFC
RECOGNITION
(PART 2)
Fixation
VALLEY
SILK: ?
SOCCER
WOLF
FLOOD
VALLEY
85 young adults (Mage = 20.16, SDage = 3.95,
Nfemale = 49) recruited through Georgia Tech
via Sona Systems.
Related Cues condion: Lists of cue-target
word pairs where the cue words were
categorically-related, but unrelated to the
target words.
66 older adults recruited using Amazon’s Me-
chanical Turk (MTurk) plaorm (Rangeage =
55-73, Mage = 60.52, SDage = 8.86, Nfemale =
41).
Unrelated Cues condion: Lists of unrelated
cue-target word pairs
Results
% Recall % Recog.
Age Condion M SE M SE
YA Related 0.36 0.04 0.67 0.03
Unrelated 0.38 0.04 0.65 0.04
OA Related 0.54 0.05 0.71 0.03
Unrelated 0.36 0.04 0.65 0.03
Related
Unrelated
12345678910 12345678910
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
Trial (Within Recall Cycle)
% Recalled
AgeGroup
YA
OA
Recall accuracy analyzed as
a funcon of serial posion
within a recall block for Related
Cues and 4 blocks across con-
secuve trials for Unrelated
Cues.
Signicant negave slope
across trials for parcipants in
the Related Cues condion, b
= -0.007, t= -2.83, p<0.01,
but not for parcipants in the
Unrelated Cues condion, b=
-0.0002, t= -0.08, p= 0.94
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Trial (Within Recall Cycle)
P(Recall)
Related
Unrelated
Condition
A mullevel model indicates
that the odds of correctly re-
calling an item signicantly de-
crease across trials within a re-
call block, but only in the Re-
lated Cues condion.
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
123456789
Trial (Within Recall Cycle)
P(Omission)
Related
Unrelated
Condition
Similarly, an MLM indicates
that the odds of an error of
omission signicantly increase
across trials within a block, but
only in the Related Cues condi-
on.
Conclusions
Despite a signicant dierence in baseline memory performance,
only parcipants who studied word pairs with semancally-related
cues showed OI eects across trials.
Both young and older adult parcipants in the Related Cues condion
showed signicant decreases in cued recall accuracy and signicant
increases in errors of omission, but no changes in errors of commis-
sion.
In contrast, recall outcome rates did not signicantly change across
trials for parcipants in the Unrelated Cues condion.
These results provide a striking contrast to ‘‘typical’’ age-related
memory results, where older adults show a greater propensity for
intrusion-related memory errors.
Overall, the results of the study are consistent with retrieval-lter hy-
potheses of OI Wilson et al. (2020) and highlight age-related invari-
ance in mechanisms of cued recall.
References
Anderson, M. C. and Neely, J. H. (1996). Interference and inhibion in mem-
ory retrieval. In Bjork, E. L. and Bjork, R. A., editors, Memory, pages
237–313. Elsevier.
Smith, A. D. (1975). Aging and interference with memory. Journal of Geron-
tology, 30(3):319–325.
Wilson, J. H., Kellen, D., and Criss, A. H. (2020). Mechanisms of output in-
terference in cued recall. Memory & Cognion, 48(1):51–68.
Acknowledgements
This project was funded in part by a Ruth L. Kirschstein Naonal Re-
search Service Award (NRSA) Instuonal Research Training Grant (T32)
from the Naonal Instutes of Health (Naonal Instute on Aging) Grant
5T32AG000175.
Contact
Email: tmc2737@gmail.com
Web: hp://hertzoglab.psychology.gatech.edu/
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Chapter
Full-text available
Publisher Summary This chapter discusses the causes of memory interference and the extent of situations in which these mechanisms operate. First, the chapter discusses some widely held assumptions about the situation of interference, focusing on the idea that such effects arise from competition for access via a shared retrieval cue. This notion is sufficiently general that it may be applied in a variety of interference settings, which is illustrated briefly. Then the classical interference paradigms from which these ideas emerged are reviewed. The chapter also reviews more recent phenomena that both support and challenge classical conceptions of interference. These phenomena provide compelling illustrations of the generality of interference and, consequently, of the importance of understanding its mechanisms. A recent perspective on interference is highlighted that builds upon insights from modern work, while validating intuitions underlying several of the classical interference mechanisms. According to this new perspective, forgetting derives not from acquiring new memories per se, but from the impact of later retrievals of the newly learned material. After discussing findings from several paradigms that support this retrieval-based view, the chapter illustrates how forgetting might be linked to inhibitory processes underlying selective attention.
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The primary aim of this paper is to elucidate the mechanisms governing output interference in cued recall. Output interference describes the phenomenon where accuracy decrease over the course of an episodic memory test. Output inference in cued recall takes the form of a decrease in correct and intrusion responses and an increase in failures to response across the test. This pattern can only be accounted for by a model with two complementary mechanisms: learning during retrieval and a response filter that prevents repeated recall of the same item. We investigate how a retrieval filter might operate by manipulating the similarity of words. The data are consistent with a retrieval filter that does not operate by a global match of a potential target to previously recalled items. Results are discussed within the search of associative memory theory.
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Input and output interference in both short-term and long-term memory were measured in three age groups (aged 20-39, 40-59, 60-80 years). A paired-associate probe technique was used, which, by factorially combining the positions of the pairs at presentation and recall, allowed an examination of output interference for all positions in the input list. No differential output interference or input interference due to age was found for items assumed to be recalled from long-term memory. Evidence, however, did indicate that adult aging primarily affects long-term memory, since no differences between groups were found for items assumed to be recalled from short-term memory.