Hypermnesia: Age-related differences between young and older adults

Jr Widner, H. Otani, A. D. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Hypermnesia is a net improvement in memory performance that occurs across tests in a multitest paradigm with only one study session. Our goal was to identify possible age-related differences in hypermnesic recall. We observed hypermnesia for young adults using verbal (Experiment 1) as well as pictorial (Experiment 2) material, but no hypermnesia for older adults in either experiment. We found no age-related difference in reminiscence (Experiments 1 and 2), though there was a substantial difference in intertest forgetting (Experiments 1 and 2). Older, relative to young, adults produced more forgetting, most of which occurred between Tests 1 and 2 (Experiments 1 and 2). Furthermore, older, relative to young, adults produced more intrusions. We failed to identify a relationship between intrusions and intertest forgetting. We suggest that the age-related difference in intertest forgetting may be due to less efficient reinstatement of cues at test by older adults. The present findings reveal that intertest forgetting plays a critical role in hypermnesic recall, particularly for older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-564
Number of pages9
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


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