Two experiments examined the interaction between aging, attention switching, encoding process, and recognition memory using different versions of a cued attention switching paradigm. In Experiment 1, 30 younger and 35 older adults encoded words based on font color, meaning, or by explicit learning with a color response during performance of a choice-reaction time (RT) task. Attention switches were cued by means of stimulus location, and occurred on average every seven trials. In Experiment 2, attention switching was precued from a central fixation point and the number of critical switch trials was increased, occurring on average every four trials. Memory was assessed in both experiments by means of a forced-choice recognition task. Results indicated that, relative to color encoding, older adults benefited more than younger adults from semantic encoding, but less from explicit learning instructions. Attention switching disrupted encoding task performance of older adults more than that of younger adults, but recognition memory was generally unaffected. Results are discussed in light of theoretical models of aging memory that posit a role for executive control processing.