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Vol. 51, No. 4, 2005
Issue release date: July–August 2005
Section title: Behavioural Science Section
Gerontology 2005;51:277–284
(DOI:10.1159/000085124)

Forgetting Numbers in Old Age: Strategy and Learning Speed Matter

Derwinger A.a, b · Stigsdotter Neely A.c · MacDonald S.a, b · Bäckman L.a, b,d
aAging Research Center, Department of Geriatric Epidemiology, Neurotec, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm; bStockholm Gerontology Research Center, and cDepartment of Psychology, University of Umeå, Umeå, Sweden, and dMax Planck Institute for Human Development, Center for Lifespan Psychology, Berlin, Germany

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Behavioural Science Section

Received: 7/23/2004
Accepted: 11/30/2004
Published online: 6/15/2005
Issue release date: July–August 2005

Number of Print Pages: 8
Number of Figures: 1
Number of Tables: 5

ISSN: 0304-324X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0003 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/GER

Abstract

Background: Memory intervention research with older adults has primarily focused on immediate effects of training. Little is known about whether memory training can prevent forgetting of a learned material over time. Objective: The main purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of memory training on forgetting of numerical information in old age. In addition, the effect of speed of learning on forgetting rate was examined. Methods: Two training programs were employed contrasting a number-consonant mnemonic strategy with a self-generated strategy. A non-practice control group was also included. There were 20 participants in each group (age range = 60–83 years). Following completion of training, participants memorized six 4-digit numbers to perfection. Retention was tested after 30 min, 24 h, 7 weeks, and 8 months. Results: The three groups showed equal rates of forgetting across the first two follow-up assessments. A different picture emerged for the last two occasions, with the self-generated strategy group remembering more items relative to the two other groups. Moreover, participants reaching the criterion in few trials exhibited less forgetting than slow learners. Conclusions: These data indicate that self-generated strategy training may have advantages over learning a classical mnemonic for preventing long-term forgetting of numeric materials in old age.

© 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Behavioural Science Section

Received: 7/23/2004
Accepted: 11/30/2004
Published online: 6/15/2005
Issue release date: July–August 2005

Number of Print Pages: 8
Number of Figures: 1
Number of Tables: 5

ISSN: 0304-324X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0003 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/GER


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