Baycrest logoIt is quite often that we find old people who can’t remember the exact details of the destination they had to reach. A research piloted by Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute has elucidated that old people may suffer destination amnesia. This means that they apparently face destination memory failures, even after which they remain extremely confident in their belief that they are right.

It is said that older people are more prone to memory failure, as their ability to concentrate reduces due to age. Hence, they use most of their attention in conversing the information and not in encoding it, which would be remembering whom they are speaking to for recall later. Another major finding was that destination memory is more exposed to age-related issues than source memory, which is the ability to recollect the person who told them the details.

“What we’ve found is that older adults tend to experience more destination amnesia than younger adults,” stated lead investigator and cognitive scientist Dr. Nigel Gopie, who led the study with internationally-renowned experts in memory and attention, Drs. Fergus Craik and Lynn Hasher. “Destination amnesia is characterized by falsely believing you’ve told someone something, such as believing you’ve told your daughter about needing a ride to an appointment, when you actually had told a neighbor.”

The research was conducted on 40 healthy older adults aged 60 to 83, and 40 students, ages 18 – 30, from the University of Toronto. These participants were divided into two experimental groups. The first experiment was performed to calculate the destination memory accuracy and confidence. In this each one of them had to read out loud 50 fascinating facts to 50 celebrities, which appeared on the computer screen. Subsequently, they had to remember which fact they had read for a particular famous personality.

The second experiment was carried out to estimate the source memory accuracy and confidence level. This required each individual to recollect which personality had told them a certain fact. The outcome of the first experiment involved older participants to be 21 percent worse when compared to the younger ones. The second experiment resulted in both of them acquiring almost the same that is the young scored 60 percent where as the old 50 percent.

The study has been included before the online print publication in the Online First Section of Psychology and Aging.