Beliefs About Memory Changes Across the Adult Life Span
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Beliefs about age-related differences in memory were examined with an adaptation of the Short Inventory of Memory Experiences. In Experiment 1, 142 adults (mean age = 36 years) reported significantly more positive expectations for memory in everyday life for persons aged 25 years than for those aged 70 years. In Experiment 2, a between-subjects design with 189 adults (mean age = 34 years) was employed to examine the generality of memory beliefs about age-related change and the anticipated slope. Beliefs about the memory of 25-year-olds were significantly more positive than for 45- and 65-year-olds, which were correspondingly higher than for 85-year-olds. Secondary regression analyses revealed that participants with good memory self-perceptions anticipated better memory performance for others overall. In addition, older respondents exhibited more differentiated memory beliefs across age groups than younger respondents, especially at the two younger target ages. Examination of age-based memory beliefs with this type of instrument provides a new opportunity to integrate cognitive and social psychological approaches to the study of memory in aging.
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