Event-related potentials differentiate the effects of aging on word and nonword repetition in explicit and implicit memory tasks

Diane Swick, Robert T. Knight

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Explicit memory declines with age while implicit memory remains largely intact. These experiments extended behavioral findings by recording event-related potentials (ERPs) in young and elderly adults during repetition priming and recognition memory paradigms. Words and pronounceable nonwords repeated after 1 of 3 delays. Stimuli were categorized as either word-nonword or old-new. Repeated items elicited more positive-going potentials in both tasks. Hemispheric asymmetries for word and nonword processing were observed during lexical decision: Repetition effects were larger over the left hemisphere for words and over the right hemisphere for nonwords. For the young, ERP repetition effects were larger during recognition memory. For old adults, conversely, repetition produced more positive-going waveforms during lexical decision. The elderly had ERP and behavioral deficits at long recognition delays. ERP repetition effects in the elderly, like behavioral performance, were preserved in an implicit task but impaired in an explicit memory task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-142
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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