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Title: Age-related differences in conscious and unconscious memory processes : an investigation of the process dissociation procedure
Author: Rosenthal, Clive Richard
ISNI:       0000 0001 3536 5972
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2000
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Age-related differences in the contributions of conscious and unconscious memory processes were investigated in order to evaluate the proposition that ageing only impairs conscious processes, whilst unconscious processes are largely spared. In addition, the experimental work evaluated the boundary conditions of the process dissociation procedure (PDP; Jacoby, 1991). The PDP was applied to a conceptually-oriented category exemplar generation memory task and to a perceptually- oriented associative word stem completion memory task. In a series of six experiments, two primary classes of encoding manipulation were applied to these memory tasks: divided attention and directed forgetting. Divided attention was investigated using a parametric manipulation of short-term memory load at encoding. Directed forgetting was operationalised in two ways: (1) an item-method cueing paradigm; and (2) a list-method cueing paradigm. These two basic paradigms were used to investigate the differential rehearsal and retrieval inhibition accounts of directed forgetting, respectively. The application of the PDP in these experiments revealed evidence convergent with the task dissociation literature; namely, age-related invariance was observed in the estimates of unconscious processes, whilst an age-related decline was found in the estimates of conscious processes. However, it is argued that the identification of the sources of variability in dependent measures of unconscious processes, rather than whether or not unconscious processes are impaired by age, is a more pertinent research question. The results are discussed with respect to three primary accounts of cognitive ageing: diminished attentional resources, impaired inhibitory processes, and deficits in the ability to spontaneously generate semantic, elaborative encoding. In addition, the findings suggest that further revision and specification of the PDP will be necessary in order to render veridical estimates of conscious and unconscious processes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available