We examined age differences in the effectiveness of multiple repetitions and providing associative facts on tune memory. For both tune and fact recognition, three presentations were beneficial. Age was irrelevant in fact recognition, but older adults were less successful than younger in tune recognition. The associative fact did not affect young adults' performance. Among older people, the neutral association harmed performance; the emotional fact mitigated performance back to baseline. Young adults seemed to rely solely on procedural memory, or repetition, to learn tunes. Older adults benefitted by using emotional associative information to counteract memory burdens imposed by neutral associative information.
Psychology and Aging
Deffler, S.A. and Halpern, Andrea. "Contextual Information and Memory for Unfamiliar Tunes in Older and Younger Adults." Psychology and Aging (2011) : 900-904.