Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Think Memory Worsens With Age? Then Yours Probably Will

Date:
April 23, 2009
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Thinking your memory will get worse as you get older may actually be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Researchers have found that senior citizens who think older people should perform poorly on tests of memory actually score much worse than seniors who do not buy in to negative stereotypes about aging and memory loss.

Thinking your memory will get worse as you get older may actually be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Researchers at North Carolina State University have found that senior citizens who think older people should perform poorly on tests of memory actually score much worse than seniors who do not buy in to negative stereotypes about aging and memory loss.

Related Articles


In a study published earlier this month, psychology professor Dr. Tom Hess and a team of researchers from NC State show that older adults' ability to remember suffers when negative stereotypes are "activated" in a given situation. "For example, older adults will perform more poorly on a memory test if they are told that older folks do poorly on that particular type of memory test," Hess says. Memory also suffers if senior citizens believe they are being "stigmatized," meaning that others are looking down on them because of their age.

"Such situations may be a part of older adults' everyday experience," Hess says, "such as being concerned about what others think of them at work having a negative effect on their performance – and thus potentially reinforcing the negative stereotypes." However, Hess adds, "The positive flip side of this is that those who do not feel stigmatized, or those in situations where more positive views of aging are activated, exhibit significantly higher levels of memory performance." In other words, if you are confident that aging will not ravage your memory, you are more likely to perform well on memory-related tasks.

The study also found a couple of factors that influenced the extent to which negative stereotypes influence older adults. For example, the researchers found that adults between the ages of 60 and 70 suffered more when these negative stereotypes were activated than seniors who were between the ages of 71 and 82. However, the 71-82 age group performed worse when they felt stigmatized.

Finally, the study found that negative effects were strongest for those older adults with the highest levels of education. "We interpret this as being consistent with the idea that those who value their ability to remember things most are the most likely to be sensitive to the negative implications of stereotypes, and thus are most likely to exhibit the problems associated with the stereotype."

"The take-home message," Hess says, "is that social factors may have a negative effect on older adults' memory performance."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hess et al. Moderators of and Mechanisms Underlying Stereotype Threat Effects on Older Adults' Memory Performance. Experimental Aging Research, 2009; 35 (2): 153 DOI: 10.1080/03610730802716413

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Think Memory Worsens With Age? Then Yours Probably Will." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090421154335.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2009, April 23). Think Memory Worsens With Age? Then Yours Probably Will. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090421154335.htm
North Carolina State University. "Think Memory Worsens With Age? Then Yours Probably Will." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090421154335.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins