Differential effects of aging on explicit and implicit memory

Markus M. Schugens, Irene Daum, Marion Spindler, Niels Birbaumer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present study, five consecutive age groups ranging from the 20s to the 60s were compared on a range of explicit and implicit memory tests which were modelled on the clinical tasks used to assess amnesia. With respect to explicit memory, the ability to recall verbal or visual material was seen to decline steadily with increasing age at immediate and delayed testing; there were, however, no consistent age differences regarding performance on recognition tasks. Perceptual skill acquisition within the context of a mirror reading task was unaffected by age, while word stem completion priming tended to decline across the age groups. Factor analysis revealed three factors: verbal explicit memory, visual memory (comprising visual recall and stem completion priming), and skill acquisition. The present findings indicate dissociable effects of normal aging on explicit and implicit memory, and thereby some degree of qualitative resemblance to human amnesia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-44
Number of pages12
JournalNeuropsychology, development, and cognition. Section B, Aging, neuropsychology and cognition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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