When remembering past events or imagining possible future events, older adults generate fewer episodic details than do younger adults. These results support the constructive episodic simulation hypothesis: deficits in retrieving episodic details underlie changes during memory and imagination. To examine the extent of this age-related reduction in specificity, we compared performance on memory and imagination tasks to a picture description task that does not require episodic memory. In two experiments, older adults exhibited comparable specificity reductions across all conditions. These findings emphasize the need to consider age-related changes in imagination and memory in a broader theoretical context.
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