The Role of Affect at Encoding on Prospective Memory Function in Ageing

Sebastian Joeffry (2013). The Role of Affect at Encoding on Prospective Memory Function in Ageing Professional Doctorate, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Sebastian Joeffry
Thesis Title The Role of Affect at Encoding on Prospective Memory Function in Ageing
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2013-08-19
Thesis type Professional Doctorate
Supervisor Associate Professor Julie Henry
Total pages 129
Language eng
Subjects 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Abstract/Summary It has been suggested that emotional prospective memory (PM) cues might influence prospective remembering and potentially eliminate age-associated decline. However, the few studies that have addressed this question have failed to yield consistent results, and where effects have been observed, it remains unclear whether these reflect the operation of processes implemented initially at encoding or later at retrieval. There is also ongoing debate regarding the relative contribution of automatic versus more controlled processes in understanding age-related PM decline, as well as whether age effects vary qualitatively or quantitatively for young-old versus old-old adults. Each of these issues are addressed in the present study. Specifically, young, young-old and old-old adults completed a PM measure in which the valence of the cues presented at encoding varied systematically in affect (positive, negative or neutral). The first major finding to emerge was that PM performance did not vary as a function of affect at encoding, and that this effect did not interact with age group. The second finding of note was that although no overall age group differences in PM accuracy emerged, for all three groups prospective remembering incurred cognitive costs, as indexed by ongoing task accuracy and reaction time, with these costs being greatest for the older adult groups. Together, these findings add to our understanding of the nature and determinants of PM difficulties in late adulthood. They firstly suggest that valence at encoding appears not to be an important determinant of performance, and that this is true for both younger and older adults. They secondly suggest that the broader field of prospective memory needs to move beyond a simple focus on accuracy as the key dependent measure. In the present study, assessment of this variable alone would have suggested the potential operation of automatic processes when completing the PM task. The dual-task measure instead suggests that equivalent performance across the three age groups was only achieved through greater costs for the older groups on the dual task measure. The theoretical and practical implications of these data are discussed.
Keyword Prospective memory
Emotional valence

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Created: Fri, 20 Sep 2013, 19:13:23 EST by Sebastian Joeffry on behalf of Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences