Investigating the lack of modality effect on the part of older adults
One method that has been shown to reduce false memories in young, but not for older adults, is to present words visually versus auditorally at study, known as the modality effect. In contrast, false memories are reduced for young and older adults following picture presentation. The current experiment investigated a possible explanation for the different effects of pictures and visual words on false memory in older adults by examining memory for source information. Young and older adults heard words, heard and saw words, and heard and saw the associated picture for words. A source test was then conducted in which participants identified study modalities. Both young and older adults significantly differed in the correct identification between auditory study presentation and picture study presentation. Also, young and older adults showed a significant difference between items presented visually and as pictures. While young and older adults differed significantly in correctly identifying auditorally presented items, the group difference for visually presented items only approached significance and the two groups did not differ for picture presented items. The results suggest that memory for study related perceptual information available at the time of test differs for young and older adults.