Five experiments were conducted to investigate potential structural and functional differences in verbal mediators given by young and elderly adults to CVC material. Experiment 1 found no significant differences in the complexity and flexibilty of mediator formation by the two age groups. Experiment 2 replicated these findings using a different sample and task, and different materials. Additionally, this study also indicated a significant rank order correlation for the particular types of mediators used. Experiment 3 indicated that under some situations young subjects may be able to discriminate young from old mediators while Experiment 4 showed that younger subjects had no preference for which mediator would be most helpful to them in a learning task. Experiment 5 found that, in a paired associate learning task, young subjects learned faster the mediators given by other young subjects. The data were discussed in terms of current methodological practices and in terms of localizing age-related memory deficits in structure or process variables.