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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

On-line version ISSN 1414-431X


SANTOS-GALDUROZ, R.F.; OLIVEIRA, F.G.; GALDUROZ, J.C.F.  and  BUENO, O.F.A.. Cognitive performance of young and elderly subjects on the free word recall memory test: effect of presentation order on recall order. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2009, vol.42, n.10, pp.988-992. ISSN 1414-431X.

The influence of aging on memory has been extensively studied, but the importance of short-term memory and recall sequence has not. The objective of the current study was to examine the recall order of words presented on lists and to determine if age affects recall sequence. Physically and psychologically healthy male subjects were divided into two groups according to age, i.e., 23 young subjects (20 to 30 years) and 50 elderly subjects (60 to 70 years) submitted to the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised and the free word recall test. The order of word presentation significantly affected the 3rd and 4th words recalled (P < 0.01; F = 14.6). In addition, there was interaction between the presentation order and the type of list presented (P < 0.05; F = 9.7). Also, both groups recalled the last words presented from each list (words 13-15) significantly more times 3rd and 4th than words presented in all remaining positions (P < 0.01). The order of word presentation also significantly affected the 5th and 6th words recalled (P = 0.05; F = 7.5) and there was a significant interaction between the order of presentation and the type of list presented (P < 0.01; F = 20.8). The more developed the cognitive functions, resulting mainly from formal education, the greater the cognitive reserve, helping to minimize the effects of aging on the long-term memory (episodic declarative).

Keywords : Recall order; Aging; Memory; Presentation order.

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