Knowledge of memory aging across the lifespan

Katie E. Cherry, Louisiana State University.
Blakeley Blanchard
Erin J. Walker
Emily A. Smitherman
Bethany A. Lyon


The authors examined knowledge of normal and pathological memory aging in a lifespan sample of 198 individuals who ranged in age from 13 to 88 years. Participants completed the Knowledge of Memory Aging Questionnaire (Cherry, Brigman, Hawley, & Reese, 2003). The authors hypothesized that high school students would be less knowledgeable about memory aging issues than college students, middle-aged, and community-dwelling older adults. Consistent with this hypothesis, response accuracy was lower for high school students compared to their older counterparts. Follow-up analyses revealed that high school students' responses to a subset of questions that tap ageist views of adult cognition were less accurate than the other age groups, implying a response bias toward stereotypical images of memory aging. Implications for research and the design of instructional materials to increase people's knowledge about normative changes in adult cognition are discussed.