False Recognition of Abstract Versus Common Objects in Older and Younger Adults: Testing the Semantic Categorization Account

Wilma Koutstaal, Chandan Reddy, Eric M. Jackson, Steve Prince, Daniel L. Cendan, Daniel L. Schacter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations

Abstract

Older adults often demonstrate higher levels of false recognition than do younger adults. However, in experiments using novel shapes without preexisting semantic representations, this age-related elevation in false recognition was found to be greatly attenuated. Two experiments tested a semantic categorization account of these findings, examining whether older adults show especially heightened false recognition if the stimuli have preexisting semantic representations, such that semantic category information attenuates or truncates the encoding or retrieval of item-specific perceptual information. In Experiment 1, ambiguous shapes were presented with or without disambiguating semantic labels. Older adults showed higher false recognition when labels were present but not when labels were never presented. In Experiment 2, older adults showed higher false recognition for concrete but not abstract objects. The semantic categorization account was supported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-510
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Volume29
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2003

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