Individual differences in the voluntary use of a memory aid during decision making

Mitzi M.S. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


To characterize selective uses of external memory aids, 42 younger and 38 older adults made decisions and then completed individual difference measures. Experimental manipulation of the availability of a memory aid allowed examination of the effects of having a memory aid available as opposed to the spontaneous use of that aid. Use of the memory aid resulted in longer decision times, more requests for information, and less rechecking of already viewed information. Younger and older adults with high abstraction scores and older adults with high vocabulary scores were more likely to use the aid. Patterns of use differed in that younger adults used the aid in the middle of their information gathering and older adults used the aid toward the end. Making a memory aid available for use during decision making affected decision-making processes of older adults; use of the aid was associated with greater crystallized and fluid intelligence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-43
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Received 9 September 1995; accepted 16 November 1996. This research was supported by NIA grant number AG09976. The author thanks Dr. David Wekstein for his assistance in obtaining older adult participants ?om the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging Volunteer Subject Pool. Doctors Neil Charness, Ellen iiggle, and Frederick Schrnitt deserve special credit for our numerous discussions and for their ielpful comments. I also appreciate the comments and support of the anonymous reviewers. Finally, dichael Walser warrants special recognition for his role in data collection. Address correspondence to Mitzi Johnson, Behavioral Science Department, University of Ken-ucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY 40536-0086, USA. E-mail: mmjohnOl

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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