Remembering what the doctor said: organization and adults' memory for medical information

Exp Aging Res. 1996 Oct-Dec;22(4):403-28. doi: 10.1080/03610739608254020.


Remembering medical information over time is important for patients' health and well-being. Younger and older adults' respective memories of information from a videotaped medical feedback session about osteoarthritis were examined as a function of information organization. Participants were randomly assigned to either an organized or an unorganized presentation condition. Retention was assessed immediately, and after 1-week and 1-month delays, by use of a free-recall task. Younger and older adults in general remembered equivalent amounts of medical information. Organization of medical information did not have an impact on the amount of information remembered. Results indicated that participants recalled more medical information immediately than after the 1-week and 1-month delays. Younger adults initially recalled more medical information than older adults; however, younger and older adults remembered equivalent amounts of information after the 1-week and 1-month delays.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mental Recall / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis / psychology
  • Patient Education as Topic / standards*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Random Allocation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires