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Age-Related Changes in Producing Proper Names: A Test of the Inhibitory Deficit Hypothesis
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by Connie L. Isele and Lori E. James - University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Categories: Developmental | Memory
This study used a competitor priming task to test the predictions of the Inhibitory Deficit Hypothesis (IDH) for age differences in proper name production. The IDH predicts that in older adulthood, people become less able to inhibit irrelevant information, particularly when the distracting information is related in meaning to the information of interest. Young and older participants produced well-known proper names presented as part of semantically-related versus unrelated pairs, a task intended to create conditions of maximal interference. The results of the current study did not support the IDH. In fact, the data provided no evidence for semantic interference in either older or young adults. Possible limitations of this competitor priming paradigm and implications for the IDH are discussed.