Memory failures appraisal in younger and older adults: role of individual difference and event outcome variables

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The authors examined the role of individual difference and event outcome variables in younger and older adults' memory failures appraisal. Participants read vignettes that described fictitious younger characters (in their 20s-30s) or older characters (in their 60s-70s) who had experienced a minor or severe consequence of their forgetfulness. The authors solicited attribution ratings on the potential causes of the forgetfulness and memory opinion ratings. Younger and older adults' ratings were largely similar, although age differences occurred on the effort and luck attribution scales. The consequences of the forgetting had a sizable impact on both the attribution and memory opinion ratings. Individual differences in self-reported memory had a relatively small impact on causal attribution and memory opinion ratings. These results suggested that people weigh their judgments of fictitious forgetful characters against event outcomes more so than ageist beliefs that portray a negative image of cognitive competence in later life.

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The Journal of genetic psychology

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