Using orthographic neighborhood size manipulations to investigate memory deficits in aging memory

Gina A. Glanc, Jessica M. Logan, Megan Grime, Antonette Anuwe, Janelle Thompson

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    2 Citations (Scopus)
    29 Downloads (Pure)


    In three previous studies, manipulations of orthographic neighborhood size and orienting task were used to differentiate between item-specific and relational processing in young adults (aged 18–35) in standard recognition tasks. The current study attempts to investigate memory deficits in older adults (aged 65+) using similar manipulations. Experiment 1 manipulated orthographic neighborhood size within an item recognition task. Young adults demonstrated a standard mirror effect, showing more accurate performance for low-N words. No such effect was found in older adults, possibly indicating a deficit in item-specific processing. Experiment 2 included an orienting task during study to emphasize a specific type of processing. While younger adults’ performance was influenced by orienting task, older adults showed consistently better performance for High-N words. These results suggest that older adults show a deficit in item-specific processing, relying more on relational processing regardless of task.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1220445
    Number of pages16
    JournalCogent Psychology
    Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2016


    • recognition memory
    • relational processing
    • item-specific processing
    • memory deficits
    • aging memory
    • orienting task
    • orthographic neighborhood size


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