Date of Award

5-1-2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Clancy Dollinger, Stephanie

Abstract

Prospective memory, memory to perform future intended actions, is an important component of independent living for older adults. The current study examined prospective memory performance in 120 adults (Young-Old; 45-64 years old and Old; 65 - 87 years old) using Virtual Week (Rendell & Craik, 2000; Rendell & Henry, 2009). Virtual week was used to assess performance for regular and irregular event based, regular and irregular time based, and time check prospective memory tasks. Prospective memory performance under conditions of stereotype threat, stereotype boost, and a neutral condition was also examined. Stereotype threat occurs when individuals fear their behavior will confirm a negative opinion regarding one’s in-group. Older adults completed fewer prospective memory tasks compared to participants in the Young-Old group. No effect of stereotype condition on completion of prospective memory tasks was observed. The implication that stereotype threat may influence memory systems differently, as well as the possible role of the positivity effect on performance is considered.

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