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May, C. P., Hasher, L., Zacks, R. T., & Multhaup, K. S. (1999). Inhibition in the processing of garden path sentences. Psychology and Aging, 14, 304-313.


The Hartman and Hasher (1991) garden path sentence completion task has been used in several studies to assess the efficiency of the deletion function of inhibition (e.g., Hasher, Zacks, & May, in press), with results suggesting that younger adults are efficient at suppressing once-relevant but no-longer-appropriate information, whereas older adults generally are not (e.g., Hartman & Hasher, 1991; Hasher, Quig, & May, 1997; May & Hasher, 1998). An alternative interpretation of patterns of access to relevant and no longer relevant sentence endings focuses on the difficulty of selecting final words for sentence frames and on integration effects in implicit memory (Hartman, 1995). This alternative is considered and found wanting on the basis of both new and old empirical data. Based on the present data and related findings, we conclude that the task does measure inhibitory efficiency.

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