Age-dependent recall bias for material of internal versus external origin

Academic Article


  • Objective: To learn whether young and aged subjects exhibit different recall biases for internally derived (Internal) versus externally supplied (External) material. Background: Internally derived knowledge, prized by educators and therapists, can bring about dramatic behavioral change. Such information, seldom assessed on formal memory testing, may be preferentially recalled compared with external-origin material. Under some circumstances, however, subjects may demonstrate a recall advantage for externally supplied over internally generated material. Method: We compared Internal and External word recall in young and aged subjects with and without explicit intent to remember. Results: Although overall the young and aged subjects recalled the same number of words, we did find a word-origin recall bias. This recall bias differed by age group (P = 0.005). When not instructed to remember words, the young subjects tended to remember more External words, while aged subjects remembered more Internal words. Conclusions: The differences in the brain mechanisms mediating Internal versus External recall bias are unknown. However, aging may modify an Internal-External memory bias.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Barrett AM; Crucian GP; Wingard EM; Graybeal LA; Heilman KM
  • Start Page

  • 160
  • End Page

  • 169
  • Volume

  • 16
  • Issue

  • 3