[en] The present study examined how aging influences item and associative recognition memory, and compared memory for two types of associations: associations between the same kinds of information and associations between different kinds of information. A group of young adults and a group of older adults performed a forced-choice face recognition task and two multitrial forced-choice associative recognition tasks, assessing memory for face-face and face-spatial location associations. The results showed disproportionate age-related decline of associative recognition compared to intact item recognition. Moreover, aging affected both types of associative tasks in the same way. The findings support an associative deficit hypothesis (Naveh-Benjamin, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 26, 1170–1187, 2000), which attributes a substantial part of the age effect on episodic memory tasks to difficulty with binding individual components into a cohesive memory trace. This associative deficit seems to affect same-information associations, as well as different-information associations.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS