Does task affordance moderate age-related deficits in strategy production?

Sara Bottiroli, John Dunlosky, Kate Guerini, Elena Cavallini, Christopher Hertzog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


According to the task-affordance hypothesis, people will be more likely to use a specific strategy as tasks more readily afford its use. To evaluate this hypothesis, we examined the degree to which older and younger adults used a self-testing strategy to learn items, because previous studies suggest that age-related differences in the use of this powerful strategy vary across tasks. These tasks (words affixed to a board vs. pairs on flashcards) differentially afford the use of the self-testing strategy and may moderate the age-related effects on strategy use. Participants performed a recall-readiness task in which they continued to study items until they were ready for the criterion test. As predicted, self testing was used less often on tasks that least afforded its use. Namely, participants used self testing less when they studied single words affixed to a board than when they studied pairs on flashcards. Most important, age-related deficits in strategy use were greater for the former task and nonexistent for the latter one, suggesting that task affordance moderates age differences in strategy use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-602
Number of pages12
JournalNeuropsychology, development, and cognition. Section B, Aging, neuropsychology and cognition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


  • Aging
  • Memory
  • Self-testing
  • Strategy
  • Task-affordance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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