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Strategy use and verbal memory in older adults: The role of intellectual functioning and the preferential impact of semantic clustering

Hannah E Brunet, Joel H Kramer, Garima J Lupas, Jessica M Foley
Clinical Neuropsychologist 2019 March 31, : 1-13

OBJECTIVE: The relative importance of various mechanisms supporting declarative verbal memory among older adults remains uncertain. The present study examined the impact of strategy use (specifically semantic clustering) versus other variables known to impact memory performance (age, sex, education, FSIQ, processing speed, and executive functioning) on verbal memory functioning among healthy older adults.

METHODS: Healthy older adults from the California Verbal Learning Test, Second Edition standardization sample were selected (Nā€‰=ā€‰242). Relationships between verbal memory, demographics variables, and neuropsychological factors were established, and a hierarchical regression analysis was conducted to examine the individual contributions of these variables in predicting memory performance.

RESULTS: Bivariate correlations suggested that memory was significantly related to demographic factors, IQ, executive functioning, and semantic clustering. Importantly, hierarchical regression analysis revealed that semantic clustering significantly and independently contributed to recall performance beyond the demonstrated impacts of FSIQ, speed, executive functioning, and demographic variables. Furthermore, FSIQ did not moderate the relationship between semantic clustering and memory indicating that this strategy is an important factor in bolstering recall, independent of FSIQ.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results highlight the critical importance of semantic clustering utilization in enhancing memory performance among healthy older adults.


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