Age-Biased Interpretation of Memory Successes and Failures in Adulthood
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This study extends previous research, which has demonstrated that age stereotypes bias the interpretation of everyday memory failures, by examining the responses of 81 young and 84 old participants to questions about the meaning and causes of memory successes and failures. The scenarios used described memory situations in which age differences would be small or nonexistent and included situtional factors that could account for the memory outcome, providing a more stringent test of the age-bias hypothesis. Under such testing conditions, memory successes in old targets are seen to be less typical than for young targets. Moreover, memory failures are seen to be more strongly caused by lack of ability and viewed as more worrisome. Finally, memory outcomes, in general, are perceived to be less controllable for old targets.
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