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Seniors susceptible to false memories.

Older people may be more easily swayed by the power of suggestion than younger individuals, and more likely to falsely "remember" misinformation, according to a study published in a recent issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology. Researchers compared the performance of 24 subjects with an average age of 75 with that of a group of 24 younger adults (average age 19) on a series of memory tests. Seniors performed as well as younger subjects in tests in which they were asked to memorize and recall a list of paired words, but significantly worse when they memorized the list of paired words, then viewed new lists with words misleadingly similar to words on the first list, and then tried to recall the word pairs from the first list. Seniors were 10 times more likely than younger subjects to select pairs that included the misleading words, and 40 times more likely to falsely "remember" studying the misleading words in the word pairs. The study suggests seniors should consider keeping receipts and writing down important information rather than relying solely on memory.

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Publication:Mind, Mood & Memory
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2006
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