Is there a special role of meaning in false memory in ageing?
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There is some evidence to suggest that age-related false recognition is influenced by the presence of semantic information. Relative to younger adults, older adults seem particularly likely to make false positive errors in response to semantically related, compared to non-semantically related picture categories (Koutstaal et. al., 2003). It has been suggested that when semantic information is available, older adults are less likely to process item specific details, and appear to focus more on categorical information. The present research investigated the role of meaning in false memory in ageing by comparing the false positive errors made in response to semantically related and non-semantically related word categories between younger and older adults. The results reported here suggest that semantically associated word categories do not influence an age-related increase in false recognition, and therefore do not support previous research findings which indicate that semantically associated information may contribute towards heightened levels of false recognition in older adults. The implications of word versus picture recognition are discussed.