It is well established that aging results in deficits in memory functioning in a variety of memory tasks. However, there is a debate over the specificity of the mechanisms that lead to the pattern of age-related deficits. The aim of the proposed project is to contrast two major classes of theories in an important but somewhat understudied empirical domain: retrieval dynamics, which can allow a direct test for the distinct predictions of the theories. Proposed studies use the speed-accuracy tradeoff (SAT) procedure to evaluate differences between young and old adult groups in terms of asymptotic accuracy and speed of retrieval. This procedure allows the separate assessment of the contributions of automatic and controlled processes to memory performance discrepancy between the two groups. In doing so, this project have promise to better inform computational models of the effects of aging on memory.
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