Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Sharda Umanath

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Joanna S Hwang


There are two seemingly opposing explanations for the declines observed in associative memory of older adults: (a) the associative deficit hypothesis (ADH), which posits that older adults fail to form and retrieve associations and (b) hyperbinding, which proposes that older adults actually create too many associations. With no consensus on which explanation is most representative of older adults’ associative memory, this paper seeks to make sense of the mixed literature. First, I compare theoretical and methodological approaches adopted by studies from either side. From there, I argue and present evidence that suggests the ADH and hyperbinding are not necessarily conflicting and can possibly co-exist. Finally, I consider open questions, highlighting aspects of both theories that should be elaborated on with additional research.

Available for download on Thursday, December 05, 2024

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.