Spontaneous production and use of mnemonic strategies in older adults

Jane S. Saczynski, University of Massachusetts Medical School
George W. Rebok, National Institutes of Health
Keith E. Whitfield, Penn State University
Dana J. Plude, University of Maryland


Mnemonic strategy use in older adults has been measured a number of ways, and although strategy measurement has received considerable attention, little work has been done to compare various types of subjective strategy reporting. The authors compared self-generated and endorsed strategies for memory tasks in a sample of 85 African-American and Caucasian older adults and investigated demographic characteristics related to each strategy measurement and the relationship between strategy use and memory performance. Across memory measures, significantly more strategies were endorsed than self-generated. Race, favoring Caucasians, was the most salient demographic predictor of mnemonic strategy usage. Although strategic behavior was associated with ability performance on most memory measures, specific strategies for optimal performance were identified for number and story recall only. Findings highlight the importance of measuring both self-generated and endorsed strategies and confirm previous work on the relationship between strategy use and memory performance.