Influences of executive and memory functioning on memory for the sources of actions.

This research provides evidence for similarities and differences between the results of traditional source memory paradigms and results from the Person-Action Conjunction (PAC) test. In the PAC test, participants view actions performed by different actors and are later tested on their memory for which actor performed each action. The PAC test can be construed as a source memory test, with actions serving as target information and actors representing the sources of those actions. Unlike traditional source memory tests, which involve a many-to-few relation of targets to sources, the PAC test involves a many-to-many relation, typically with equal numbers of actors and actions. To test whether the relation of targets to sources influences the cognitive mechanisms underlying memory for the sources of actions, young and older participants in two experiments (N = 217) took part in the PAC test, either in the context of many actors or just two actors. Participants also received Glisky and Kong’s (2008) battery of tests of executive and memory functioning. Executive functioning predicted source memory performance in older adults tested in the context of just two actors, whereas memory functioning predicted young adult performance in this context. Moreover, memory functioning predicted the performance of both age groups when tested in the context of many actors, even after controlling for memory for those actors in isolation. Both young and older adults may thus rely on basic associative mechanisms to remember the sources of actions when each actor is only encountered once in the context of performing an individual action. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)