15-09-2022 | Original Article
Cognitive mechanisms underlying free recall in episodic memory performance across the lifespan: testing the control/representation model
Gepubliceerd in: Psychological ResearchLog in om toegang te krijgen
Episodic memory (EM) develops up to early adulthood, and declines in aging, following an inverted U-shaped profile. This study assessed the contribution of both Control (processes enabling adaptive and flexible behaviour in line with current goals) and Representation (crystallized schemas involved in memory and general knowledge) as factors likely to underlie this pattern of change. We hypothesized that these two cognitive resources are differentially involved in EM performance across development and aging. Participants from 8 to 80 years were administered a free-recall task and tests measuring control and representation. Results show that EM and control scores follow an inverted U-shaped profile (i.e., quadratic relationship), whereas representation increases across the lifespan. EM was associated with representation at all ages, while it was associated with control only in the youngest children and in the adults groups. Representation mainly contributed to age-related difference in EM performance across development. Across aging, control, and to a lesser extent, representation, accounted for EM performance decline. These results showed that EM development and decline do not depend on the same cognitive resources, increased representation being crucial for EM development, and a decline in control with advancing age being responsible for the age-related change in EM performance.