Hasher, L., Quig, M. B., & May, C. P. (1997). Inhibitory control over no-longer-relevant information: Adult age differences. Memory & Cognition, 25, 286-295.
Hartman and Hasher (1991) used a garden-path task in which younger and older adults generated the final word for each of a series of high-cloze sentences. Under instructions to remember the final word, the experiment included critical sentences for which the generated word was replaced by a new, to-be-remembered target. Using an implicit priming task, the first experiment replicated a basic finding: Younger adults showed priming only for the target words, whereas older adults showed priming for both the generated and target words. Two experiments explored boundary conditions. One showed that an additional sentence that interpreted the new target word enabled older adults to narrow access to only the target word. The provision of additional time following the introduction of the new target word did not. Specific information, not more time, is required for inefficient inhibitory mechanisms to clear the recent past from memory.
Back to Publications