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Trichotomous Processes in Early Memory Development, Aging, and Neurocognitive Impairment: A Unified Theory

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/2009
<mark>Journal</mark>Psychological Review
Issue number4
Number of pages50
Pages (from-to)783-832
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


One of the most extensively investigated topics in the adult memory literature, dual memory processes, has had virtually no impact on the study of early memory development. The authors remove the key obstacles to such research by formulating a trichotomous theory of recall that combines the traditional dual processes of recollection and familiarity with a reconstruction process. The theory is then embedded in a hidden Markov model that measures all 3 processes with low-burden tasks that are appropriate for even young children. These techniques are applied to a large corpus of developmental studies of recall, yielding stable findings about the emergence of dual memory processes between childhood and young adulthood and generating tests of many theoretical predictions. The techniques are extended to the study of healthy aging and to the memory sequelae of common forms of neurocognitive impairment, resulting in a theoretical framework that is unified over 4 major domains of memory research: early development, mainstream adult research, aging, and neurocognitive impairment. The techniques are also extended to recognition, creating a unified dual process framework for recall and recognition.