Short-Term and Long-Term Collaboration Benefits on Individual Recall in Younger and Older Adults

Blumen, Helena M.; Stern, Yaakov

A recent study of younger adults suggests that, compared to repeated individual recall trials, repeated collaborative recall trials produce better individual recall after a short delay (Blumen & Rajaram, 2008). Our study was designed to determine if such collaboration benefits would remain after a one-week delay, in both younger and older adults. Sixty younger (M age = 24.60) and 60 older (M age = 67.35) adults studied a list of words and then completed either two collaborative recall trials followed by two individual recall trials, or four individual recall trials. A five-min delay was inserted between the first three recall trials. The fourth recall trial was administered 1 week later. Collaborative recall was completed in groups of three individuals working together. Both younger and older adults benefitted from repeated collaborative recall trials to a greater extent than repeated individual recall trials, and such collaboration benefits remained after a one-week delay. This is the first demonstration of collaboration benefits on later individual recall at delays as long as 1 week, in both younger and older adults. Findings are discussed within the context of the negative effects of collaboration associated with group memory (collaborative inhibition) and the positive effects of collaboration associated with later individual memory (collaboration benefits).


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Memory and Cognition

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February 24, 2018