What the researchers observed during that second recall test was quite amazing. Repeating the words as distractors did not affect how well the young people remembered the words on the list. However, older adults rarely or never forgot the words that had appeared as distractors. These seniors were 30% more likely to remember the distractor words compared to the words that were not used as distractors. The seniors used hyperbinding, linking the words to the pictures, as a way to remember.
What do these findings mean in terms of improving the quality of life for senior citizens? These results can be used to develop learning techniques for older adults that can help them remember important information like when to take medication or if they are supposed to be somewhere. The most significant aspect to all of this is that the seniors do not even have to be consciously paying attention to the distractors that will act as cues to remembering.