Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

When choice matters: Task-dependent memory effects in older adulthood


Depping, Miriam K; Freund, Alexandra M (2013). When choice matters: Task-dependent memory effects in older adulthood. Psychology and Aging, 28(4):923-936.

Abstract

As goal orientation shifts across adulthood from a primary orientation toward gains to an increased importance of the prevention of losses, older adults' information processing may be particularly sensitive to potential losses if there is a possibility of avoiding them. In line with these motivational changes, we expected older adults to remember more loss-related information when choosing between 2 options than when not having to make a decision and when compared with younger adults. Using an incidental memory paradigm, we asked younger and older adults to recall as much information as possible of 2 previously presented hypothetical travel packages (Experiment 1) or 2 hospitals (Experiment 2) containing positive (gain-related), negative (loss-related), and neutral information in either a decision or a control condition (evaluating the readability of the texts). Experiment 1 showed that older adults remembered more negative information than younger adults and more negative than positive information in the choice but not in the control condition. Experiment 2 followed the same procedure using a choice between 2 hospitals for minor surgery. This choice was assumed to trigger a stronger orientation toward the prevention of losses than the choice between travel packages. As expected, in this situation, both age groups remembered more negative information relative to neutral and positive information regardless of the condition (choice vs. control). Importantly, older adults remembered more negative information in the choice condition compared with younger adults. Taken together, results suggest that the processing of decision-relevant information promotes a stronger focus on negative information in older adults.

Abstract

As goal orientation shifts across adulthood from a primary orientation toward gains to an increased importance of the prevention of losses, older adults' information processing may be particularly sensitive to potential losses if there is a possibility of avoiding them. In line with these motivational changes, we expected older adults to remember more loss-related information when choosing between 2 options than when not having to make a decision and when compared with younger adults. Using an incidental memory paradigm, we asked younger and older adults to recall as much information as possible of 2 previously presented hypothetical travel packages (Experiment 1) or 2 hospitals (Experiment 2) containing positive (gain-related), negative (loss-related), and neutral information in either a decision or a control condition (evaluating the readability of the texts). Experiment 1 showed that older adults remembered more negative information than younger adults and more negative than positive information in the choice but not in the control condition. Experiment 2 followed the same procedure using a choice between 2 hospitals for minor surgery. This choice was assumed to trigger a stronger orientation toward the prevention of losses than the choice between travel packages. As expected, in this situation, both age groups remembered more negative information relative to neutral and positive information regardless of the condition (choice vs. control). Importantly, older adults remembered more negative information in the choice condition compared with younger adults. Taken together, results suggest that the processing of decision-relevant information promotes a stronger focus on negative information in older adults.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics
7 citations in Web of Science®
11 citations in Scopus®
11 citations in Microsoft Academic
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

2 downloads since deposited on 30 Jan 2014
0 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 University Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:DoktoratPSYCH Erstautor
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:30 Jan 2014 15:07
Last Modified:16 Feb 2018 19:06
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0882-7974
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1037/a0034520
PubMed ID:24364399

Download