Comparing memory skill maintenance across the life span: Preservation in adults, increase in children.

Yvonne Brehmer, Shu-chen Li, Benjamin Straube, Gundula Stoll, Timo Von Oertzen, Viktor Müller, Ulman Lindenberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The authors examined life-span differences in the maintenance of skilled episodic memory performance by assessing 100 individuals (10 -11, 12-13, 21-26, and 66-79 years old) 11 months after termination of an intensive multisession mnemonic training program (Y. Brehmer, S.-C. Li, V. Müller, T. von Oertzen, & U. Lindenberger, 2007). Skill maintenance was tested in 2 follow-up sessions, the first without and the second with mnemonic reinstruction. Younger and older adults' average performance levels were stable across time. In contrast, both younger and older children's memory performance improved beyond originally attained levels. Older adults' performance improved from the first to the second follow-up session, presumably profiting from instruction-induced skill reactivation. Results suggest that (a) skill maintenance is largely intact in healthy older adults, (b) older adults need environmental support to fully reactivate their former skill levels (cf. F. I. M. Craik, 1983), and (c) children adapt a skill learned 11 months ago to their increasing cognitive capabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-238
JournalPsychology and Aging
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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