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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(9), 10861-10885; doi:10.3390/ijerph120910861

The Difference between Right and Wrong: Accuracy of Older and Younger Adults’ Story Recall

Department of Psychology, University of Florida, P.O. Box 112250, Gainesville, FL, 32611-225, USA
Psychology Unit, Department of Behavioural Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Lori E. James and Meredith Shafto
Received: 1 July 2015 / Revised: 19 August 2015 / Accepted: 24 August 2015 / Published: 2 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Cognition)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [755 KB, uploaded 2 September 2015]   |  


Sharing stories is an important social activity in everyday life. This study used fine-grained content analysis to investigate the accuracy of recall of two central story elements: the gist and detail of socially-relevant stories. Younger (M age = 28.06) and older (M age = 75.03) American men and women (N = 63) recalled fictional stories that were coded for (i) accuracy of overall gist and specific gist categories and (ii) accuracy of overall detail and specific detail categories. Findings showed no age group differences in accuracy of overall gist or detail, but differences emerged for specific categories. Older adults more accurately recalled the gist of when the event occurred whereas younger adults more accurately recalled the gist of why the event occurred. These differences were related to episodic memory ability and education. For accuracy in recalling details, there were some age differences, but gender differences were more robust. Overall, women remembered details of these social stories more accurately than men, particularly time and perceptual details. Women were also more likely to accurately remember the gist of when the event occurred. The discussion focuses on how accurate recall of socially-relevant stories is not clearly age-dependent but is related to person characteristics such as gender and episodic memory ability/education. View Full-Text
Keywords: fictional text recall; storytelling; accuracy; memory fictional text recall; storytelling; accuracy; memory

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Davis, D.K.; Alea, N.; Bluck, S. The Difference between Right and Wrong: Accuracy of Older and Younger Adults’ Story Recall. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 10861-10885.

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