Age differences in recall and information processing in verbal and spatial learning

Dan M Mungas, C. L. Ehlers, D. Blunden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Age differences in verbal and spatial learning and information processing were tested using a verbal word list learning task and a spatial analogue of this task. Recall was assessed across five learning trials and the same measures of information processing and organization strategy were derived from both tasks. Normal subjects divided into three age groups of 24 subjects each were compared on these instruments. Significant age group differences were found for total recall averaged across trials and type of task (verbal vs. spatial). Age was not differentially related to verbal versus spatial learning and age groups did not show different patterns of recall across trials. Age was related to a clustering measure which assessed organization of information according to verbal semantic categories or inherent spatial clusters. Younger subjects showed increased levels of clustering on earlier learning trials. Similar effects were observed for the verbal and spatial clustering measures. Age was not related to differences in organization according to temporal order of presentation of information. Results show similar age-related changes in verbal and spatial learning and provide evidence that spatial learning, like verbal learning, is dependent upon effortful information processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-332
Number of pages13
JournalCanadian Journal on Aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging


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