Differential response biases between older and younger adults on recall tests

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


This study examined the role of differential response biases between older and younger adults on recall performance and confidence judgments. Participants studied categorized and unrelated word lists and were asked to recall the items under one of the following test conditions: standard free recall, free recall with a penalty for guessing, free recall with no penalty for guessing, or forced recall. The results showed that both older and younger adults adjusted their responses in accordance with test instructions. Older adults reported a greater number of intrusions relative to younger adults in both standard and penalty instructions, particularly those intrusions that were plausible given a prior study list. Additionally, older adults were more likely to report intrusions with greater confidence that they were presented on an earlier studied list. Results demonstrate that older adults report memory information on free recall tasks with a liberal response bias, as evidenced by a decreased ability to withhold reporting intrusions and claiming to remember intrusions with greater confidence compared to younger adults.




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