Knowledge of memory aging in adulthood

Karri S. Hawley, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge 60803-5501, USA.
Katie E. Cherry
L Joseph Su
Yu-Wen Chiu
S Michal Jazwinski


The Knowledge of Memory Aging Questionnaire (KMAQ) measures laypersons' knowledge of memory changes in adulthood for research or educational purposes. Half of the questions pertain to normal memory aging and the other half cover pathological memory deficits due to non-normative factors, such as adult dementia. In this study, we compared memory knowledge in middle age adults (40-59 years), young-old adults (60-79 years) and very old adults (80 years and over). These data were collected as a part of the Louisiana Healthy Aging Study, a multidisciplinary population-based study that examines the determinants of healthy aging in adulthood. Results indicated that very old adults performed more poorly overall. Follow-up analyses revealed that they endorsed stereotyped views of normal memory aging more often than did the other age groups. Analyses of response accuracy by gender yielded comparable performance for men and women. Implications for research and the design of educational programs are considered.