THE PERSISTENCE OF INFERENCES IN MEMORY FOR YOUNGER AND OLDER ADULTS
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Younger and older adults’ susceptibility to the continued influence of inferences in memory was examined using a paradigm implemented by Wilkes and Leatherbarrow. Research has shown that younger adults have difficulty forgetting inferences they make after reading a passage, even if the information that the inferences are based on is later shown to be untrue. The current study examined the effects of these inferences on memory in the lab and tested whether older adults, like younger adults, are influenced by the lingering effects of these false inferences. In addition, this study examined the nature of these inferences, by examining younger and older adults’ subjective experiences and confidence associated with factual recall and incorrect inference recall. Results showed that younger and older adults are equally susceptible to the continued influence of inferences. Both younger and older adults gave primarily remember judgments to factual questions but primarily believe judgments to inference questions. This is an important finding because it demonstrates that people may go against what they remember or know occurred because of a lingering belief that the information might still be true. Also, the finding that participants do actually give more believe responses to inference questions is important because it demonstrates that there is a third state of awareness that people will readily use when making inferences. Participants were also more confident when making remember and know judgments compared to believe judgments. This is an interesting finding because it supports the theory that both remember and know judgments can be associated with high confidence.
Guillory, Jimmeka J. (2009). THE PERSISTENCE OF INFERENCES IN MEMORY FOR YOUNGER AND OLDER ADULTS. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from