Strategy combination during execution of memory strategies in young and older adults

  • Hinault Thomas
  • Lemaire Patrick
  • Touron Dayna

  • Aging
  • Memory
  • Paired associate learning
  • Strategy
  • Strategy combination


The present study investigated whether people can combine two memory strategies to encode pairs of words more efficiently than with a single strategy, and age-related differences in such strategy combination. Young and older adults were asked to encode pairs of words (e.g., satellite-tunnel). For each item, participants were told to use either the interactive-imagery strategy (e.g., mentally visualising the two words and making them interact), the sentence-generation strategy (i.e., generate a sentence linking the two words), or with strategy combination (i.e., generating a sentence while mentally visualising it). Participants obtained better recall performance on items encoded with strategy combination than on items encoded with interactive-imagery or sentence-generation strategies. Moreover, we found age-related decline in such strategy combination. These findings have important implications to further our understanding of execution of memory strategies, and suggest that strategy combination occurs in a variety of cognitive domains.