17 January 2003
Younger adults are good at remembering details about important events in their lives but they are more likely to put that event in context as they age, Canadian researchers say.
Take memories of a first kiss, for example. Young adults are more likely to remember what their sweetheart was wearing, what the weather was like and where they were, but older adults are more likely to remember the stage of life they were at.
'It was just after the war, the borders were re-opened and I was anxious to begin a new life,' was one study participant's response in research published in the American Psychological Association journal, Psychology and Aging.
University of Toronto psychology researchers studied the responses of 15 healthy young adults (aged 19 to 34 years) and 15 healthy older adults (aged 66 to 89) to questions about important events from different periods of their lives.
Young people favoured specific facts and details, while older people preferred general facts that cut across multiple events, the researchers said.
The changes in recall may relate to subtle brain differences associated with ageing, especially in the brain's frontal lobes, the researchers said.
Last Reviewed: 16 January 2003