Do Young and Older Adults Rely on Different Processes in Source Memory Tasks? A Neuropsychological Study

Elizabeth L. Glisky, Lauren L. Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Source memory has consistently been associated with prefrontal function in both normal and clinical populations. Nevertheless, the exact contribution of this brain region to source memory remains uncertain, and evidence suggests that processes used by young and older adults may differ. The authors explored the extent to which scores on composite measures of neuropsychological tests of frontal and medial temporal function differentially predicted the performance of young and older adults on source memory tasks. Results indicated that a frontal composite measure, consistently associated with source memory performance in older adults, was unrelated to source memory in young adults, although it was sensitive to a demanding working memory task. The memory composite score, however, predicted performance in the young group. In addition, item and source memory were correlated in young but not older people. Findings are discussed in terms of age-related differences in working memory and executive functions, and differential binding processes necessary for item and source memory. The requirement to integrate item and source information at encoding appears to place greater demands on executive or working memory processes in older adults than in younger adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)809-822
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • frontal function
  • neuropsychology
  • older adults
  • source memory
  • young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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