Ageing affects conceptual but not perceptual memory processes

George P. Stuart, Jayna Patel, Navi Bhagrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whereas age effects commonly occur in tests of explicit memory, tests of implicit memory often show age invariance. In two experiments, the traditional confound between test type (implicit vs explicit) and retrieval process (conceptually driven vs perceptually driven) was removed by using conceptually driven and perceptually driven tests of both implicit and explicit memory. Experiment 1 revealed a significant age effect for conceptually driven retrieval and no age effect for perceptually driven retrieval, regardless of the type of memory being measured. Experiment 2 highlighted a difference between the two age groups in their ability to utilise semantic encoding in a nominally perceptually driven explicit memory test. The paper concludes that although perceptually driven processing is stable over age, particular care must be taken to minimise contamination from conceptually driven retrieval processes in such investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-358
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


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