Hypermnesia: A further examination of age differences between young and older adults

Hajime Otani, Koichi Kato, Nicholas R. Von Glahn, Meghann E. Nelson, Robert L. Widner, Phillip N. Goernert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Previous studies that examined age differences in hypermnesia reported inconsistent results. The present experiment investigated whether the different study materials in these studies were responsible for the inconsistency. In particular, the present experiment examined whether the use of a video, as opposed to words and pictures, would eliminate previously reported age differences in hypermnesia. Fifteen college students and 15 older adults viewed a 3-minute video clip followed by two free-recall tests. The results indicated that older adults, as a whole, did not show hypermnesia. However, when older adults were divided into low and high memory groups based on test I performance, the high memory group showed hypermnesia whereas the low memory group did not show hypermnesia. The older adults in the low memory group were significantly older than the older adults in the high memory group - indicating that hypermnesia is inversely related to age in older adults. Reminiscence did not show an age-related difference in either the low or high memory group whereas inter-test forgetting did show an age difference in the low memory group. As expected, older adults showed greater inter-test forgetting than young adults in the low memory group. Findings from the present experiment suggest that video produces a pattern of results that is similar to the patterns obtained when words and pictures are used as study material. Thus, it appears that the nature of study material is not the source of inconsistency across the previous studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-278
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2008


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