This volume describes how well we maintain the knowledge we acquire throughout life. Research traditionally focuses on memory for events that are retained over short time periods that can be accommodated in experiments. This book, by contrast, uniquely describes the evolution of methods suitable for investigating memory of complex knowledge acquired over several years and retained during the entire life-span. The methods substitute statistical for experimental controls, and the investigations involve several hundred participants whose memory is tested up to 50 years after they acquired the knowledge in question.
The book covers educational content, such as mathematics and foreign languages; knowledge acquired incidentally, such as the streets and buildings of the city in which we live; and knowledge acquired through the media. Previously unpublished research on age-related access to knowledge is included.
The analyses are based on the accessibility/availability ratio, a metric presented for the first time. This metric allows comparisons of the portion of available knowledge that can be recalled as a function of age, education and other individual differences, and as a function of the domain of knowledge in question. The ratio can be used to evaluate methods of instruction and methods of studying. It can also be used to evaluate memory development and to diagnose memory pathology.
The volume will be of interest to researchers in human memory, developmental psychologists, gerontologists in academic and applied settings, and educators.
About the Author
Harry Bahrick received his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology in 1950 from The Ohio State University. He is Fulbright Lecturer to Germany; a National Science Foundation Fellow, University of California, Berkeley; and Endowed Chair and Research Fellow, Ohio Wesleyan University. His many honors include Welch Meritorious Teaching Award: Ohio Wesleyan University; Distinguished Teaching Career Award, The American Psychological Foundation; President, Division of Experimental Psychology of the American Psychological Association; Outstanding Alumnus Award: The Ohio State University Department of Psychology; and Distinguished professional achievement award: The Ohio State University Alumni Association.
Lynda Hall received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology in 1986 from The University of Notre Dame. She was Associate Director of Memory Research, Ohio Wesleyan University, 1985 – 1989; Faculty member, Ohio Wesleyan University, 1986 – present she is currently Professor of Psychology; and Sherman Dodge Shankland Award for the Encouragement of Teachers, Ohio Wesleyan University.
Melinda Baker received her Ph.D. in Applied Cognitive Aging Psychology in 2005 from The University of Akron, and Certificate of Gerontology from The University of Akron in 1998. She has been Research Associate, Creative Action, LLC., 2000-2002, 2007-2009; Memory Lab Project Administrator, Ohio Wesleyan University 2002- 2011; Part-time Assistant Professor, Ohio Wesleyan University; and Adjunct Professor, Columbus State Community College.
Table of Contents
1. A Historical Perspective. 2. The Ohio Wesleyan Memory Research Program. 3. Acquisition and Maintenance of Knowledge. 4. Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Investigations of Overlearning. 5. Fluctuations of Access to Marginal Knowledge. 6. Initial Investigations of Age-related Access to Knowledge. 7. Larger Scale Investigations of Age-Related Access to Naturalistically Acquired Knowledge. 8. Distortions of Knowledge. 9. Summing Up.