Aging & Memory

Aging & Memory

Older adults exhibit a variety of memory impairments.  Although there are several different explanations of this finding, many of them share the view that older adults remember fewer specific details about past events than do younger adults.  By contrast, we have proposed that older adults are prone to experience convincing illusory recollections (Dodson, Bawa & Krueger, 2007; Dodson, Bawa & Slotnick, 2007; Dodson & Krueger, 2006).  But, there are constraints on this age-related increase in high-confidence memory errors:  they occur on memory tests that require specific details about recently-learned events, such as remembering who-said-what earlier; they do not occur on tests of semantic memory, such as remembering who wrote the book, War and Peace. Importantly, this age-related propensity to make high confidence errors persists after ruling out alternative explanations, such as age-related differences in either overall memory accuracy or the tendency to use the high end of the confidence rating scale.