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Hartman, M., & Hasher, L. (1991). Aging and suppression: Memory for previously relevant information. Psychology and Aging, 6, 587-594.


In the 1st part of the experiment, older and younger adults read a series of high- cloze sentence frames, each missing its final word (e.g. "She ladled the soup  into her ______"). Subjects were instructed to predict the ending for each. For critical sentences, the predicted final word (bowl) was not shown. Instead, an unexpected but acceptable ending (lap) was provided as the target. On a subsequent indirect memory test in which subjects generated endings to medium-cloze sentences, older adults showed reliable retention of both the disconfirmed (bowl) and target (lap) endings. Younger adults showed retention of only the targets. Results are consistent with the Hasher and Zacks (1988) view that the impaired inhibitory mechanisms of older adults impede the abandonment of no-longer-relevant thoughts.

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