Adult age differences in event-based prospective memory: A meta-analysis on the role of focal versus nonfocal cues

Matthias Kliegel, Louise H. Phillips, Theodor Jaeger

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Studies of age differences in event-based prospective memory indicate wide variation in the magnitude of age effects. One explanation derived from the multiprocess framework proposes that age differences depend on whether the cue to carry out a prospective intention is focal to ongoing task processing. A meta-analysis of 117 effect sizes from 4,709 participants provided evidence for this view, as age effects were greater when the prospective cue to the ongoing task was nonfocal compared with when it was focal. However, the results only support a weaker but not a stronger prediction of the multiprocess framework, as age impairments were reliably above zero for both types of retrieval cues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-208
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology and Aging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • prospective memory
  • aging
  • meta-analysis
  • working-memory
  • retrospective memory
  • older adults
  • retrieval-processes
  • task complexity
  • performance
  • intentions
  • demands
  • sensitivity
  • younger

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