The authors investigated the hypothesis that prior knowledge of a medical topic can reduce age differences in learning of new medical information. Younger and older adults received new information on either a familiar disease or an unfamiliar disease. Participants then answered questions assessing their memory for the information. A control group received no new information, but answered the same questions, in order to assess prior knowledge. Older adults learned less information than younger adults, regardless of the familiarity of the information or the type of memory test (i.e., recall vs. recognition). Both age groups learned less new information about a familiar disease than an unfamiliar disease. Health professionals should be aware that both young and old patients may have "resistance" to learning about familiar diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology