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Zacks, R. T., Hasher, L., & Li, K. Z. H. (2000). Human memory. In T. A. Salthouse & F. I. M. Craik (Eds.), Handbook of Aging and Cognition, 2nd Edition (pp. 293-357). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


Excerpt from Introduction of Chapter:  Certain broad points of consensus are highlighted in previous reviews of the aging and memory literature (e.g., Craik, 1977; Craik, Anderson, Kerr, & Li, 1995; Craik & Jennings, 1992; Kausler, 1994; Light, 1991; A.D. Smith, 1996). For one, it is agreed that experimental and psychometric findings indicate age-related decrements in the ability to learn and remember. It is also agreed that not all types of memory show equal age deficits. Memories that were well established earlier in life and that are regularly retrieved (i.e., semantic memories and significant autobiographical memories) frequently show minimal decrease in old age. Even some forms of new memory formation (e.g., implicit learning and memory) are relatively spared from aging decrements. Furthermore, there is consensus that certain noncognitive and situational factors can modulate the degree to which age decrements are seen in particular in memory tasks.

As a quick scan through aging journals and certainly cognitive journals reveals, publications on aging and memory have been appearing at an accelerating rate over the past 10 to 15 years. In this work, aging and memory researchers have encompassed and built on theoretical concepts and methodologies that originate in cognitive gerontology, as well as in mainstream cognitive research, psychometric-individual difference work, and, increasingly, cognitive neuropsychology. Not surprisingly, this gives rise to diverse methods and to alternative explanatory frameworks. Although this is a sign of the health and vibrancy of the field, it means that it is not possible to attempt anything close to a comprehensive review of the literature. Nor is it necessary. Several Excellent summaries of the literature have been published in recent years. This chapter presents a selective review emphasizing recent work on topics of current major interest in the field. Our survey addresses age-related differences in memory performance in healthy individuals. . . We begin with a brief overview of several important theoretical-methodological approaches to the study of aging and memory.

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