The immediate retrieval of verbal sequences in late-life span: a developmental approach

Maria Chiara Fastame, Eliano Pessa, Maria Pietronilla Penna, Paul Kenneth Hitchcott

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


The present study aims to explore the mechanisms underpinning forward and backward immediate serial recall in young (i.e., 20-30 years), old (i.e., 65-74 years), and very old (i.e., 75-84 years) adults. Participants had to retrieve verbal lists from forward and backward perspectives where position-item and item-item pairings were reiterated from the start or the end of the sequence across four consecutive lists. The results showed that the age and type of the repeated cues across the lists influenced memory performance. That is, old participants outperformed the very old group in both recall modalities; furthermore, the repetition of positional and inter-item cues from the list start facilitates memory performance in forward and backward conditions. Overall, these findings suggest that the list start is the most significant marker for encoding serial information and support the idea of a common mechanism underpinning the immediate recall of serial information in forward and backward order.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-66
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of General Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date19 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Age Factors
  • Aged/psychology
  • Aged, 80 and over/psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Serial Learning
  • Verbal Learning


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