We developed a new test to examine incidental temporal order memory for a self-generated sequence of tasks one might complete in everyday life. Young and older adults were given 10 cards, each listing a task one might accomplish in a typical day. Participants were asked to self-generate a "to do" list by placing the 10 cards in a sequence representing the order in which they would accomplish the tasks, but were not informed of a subsequent memory test. We assessed immediate free recall, delayed free recall, and delayed cued recall for the order of the tasks in the sequence. Older adults were significantly impaired relative to young adults on immediate free recall, delayed free recall, and delayed cued recall. Correlation analyses with standardized neuropsychological tests provide preliminary evidence for construct validity for our test, which is portable and can be rapidly administered in clinical or laboratory settings.
Keywords: Aging; construct validity; older adults; sequence memory; temporal order memory.