YOUNG AND OLDER ADULTS’ PERFORMANCE ON MEMORY TASKS: A REVIEW

It is commonly believed that memory declines in adulthood. Based on an integrative account of memory systems (Tulving, 1985) this paper reviews young and older normal adults’ performance on different memory tasks that are considered rather typical of each memory system: Working memory, and long term episodic, semantic and procedural memory. Although extensive memory decline was clearly found out on episodic rather than on semantic and procedural memory systems, it was stressed that large memory decline is always possible to obtain in any memory system, provided that the memory task is considered hard enough. It was therefore proposed that age differences in memory are better explained by reduced processing resources in older adults, due perhaps to inhibition failures taken place in working memory functioning, according to Hasher and Zacks (1988).