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Rahhal, T. A., May, C. P., & Hasher, L. (2002). Truth and character: Sources that older adults remember. Psychological Science, 13, 101-105.


Are age differences in source memory inevitable? The two experiments reported here examined the hypothesis that the type of source information being tested mediates the magnitude of age differences in source memory. In these studies, participants listened to statements made by two different speakers. We compared younger and older adults' source memory in a traditional perceptual source task (memory for voice) and in two affective, conceptually based source tasks (truth of the statements, character of a person in a photo). In both studies, the perceptual and conceptual source information were conveyed in the same manner, as one speaker was associated with one type of information (e.g., female voice speaks truth). Age differences were robust for decisions regarding who said each statement but were negligible for truth or character decisions. These findings are provocative because they suggest that the type of information can influence age-related patterns of performance for source-conveyed information.

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