Episodic Memory and the Retrieval of Information Across the Adult Lifespan

Siedlecki, Karen Lynn, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
"Salthouse, PhD", Timothy, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia

The structure of episodic memory was investigated by assessing different modalities of material (verbal, figural, and spatial), and different types of tests (recall, cued recall, and recognition). A three-factor model that distinguished among modality of material was found to be the most meaningful representation of memory and the constructs of verbal, figural, and spatial memory exhibited convergent and discriminant validity. The threefactor modality of material model also demonstrated both configural and metric age invariance across a sample of adults (N=327) between the ages of 18 and 94. Within the verbal domain there was evidence that latent constructs corresponding to recall, cued recall, and recognition could be distinguished from one another, but this same pattern was not evident within the figural and spatial domains. Within the figural and spatial domains a baseline, one-factor model was the best fit to the data suggesting that how information is retrieved within the nonverbal domain may be irrelevant, at least in terms of individual differences. A mediation model examining retrieval constructs was examined within the verbal domain and there were unique, statistically significant, age-related influences on cued recall performance after controlling for recognition performance, and on recall performance after controlling for cued recall performance. This result is consistent with findings that increased age is associated with increased difficulty in retrieving information.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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