Importance effects on age differences in performance in event-based prospective memory

A. Hering, L. H. Phillips, M. Kliegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Most laboratory-based studies on prospective memory show a decline with increasing age. Theoretical explanations for age differences focus on the allocation of attentional resources to support prospective remembering. The recruitment of prospective memory target monitoring seems to be influenced by perceived task importance. Objective: In the present study, we investigated the influence of task importance on the magnitude of age differences in event-based prospective memory. Methods: Healthy younger (n = 25) and older (n = 25) adults were instructed a priori to prioritize either the ongoing or the prospective memory task before performing an event-based prospective memory task. Results: We found an interaction between age and task importance: instructed higher importance of the ongoing task compared to the prospective memory task component produced significant age-related declines in prospective remembering. By contrast, if older adults treated the prospective memory task component as more important than the ongoing task, they achieved equivalent levels of prospective memory performance as their younger counterparts, but did so at a cost to ongoing task performance. Conclusions: The present data indicate that task importance is one of the factors determining the presence or absence of age deficits in prospective remembering. Findings are discussed in the context of limited processing resources in old age and theoretical frameworks of event-based prospective memory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-78
Number of pages6
JournalGerontology
Volume60
Issue number1
Early online date5 Nov 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

Fingerprint

Episodic Memory
Resource Allocation
Task Performance and Analysis
Costs and Cost Analysis

Keywords

  • prospective memory
  • aging
  • motivation
  • task importance
  • attention

Cite this

Importance effects on age differences in performance in event-based prospective memory. / Hering, A.; Phillips, L. H.; Kliegel, M.

In: Gerontology, Vol. 60, No. 1, 12.2013, p. 73-78.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{c891f4621dcf4648895d7411f77123f2,
title = "Importance effects on age differences in performance in event-based prospective memory",
abstract = "Background: Most laboratory-based studies on prospective memory show a decline with increasing age. Theoretical explanations for age differences focus on the allocation of attentional resources to support prospective remembering. The recruitment of prospective memory target monitoring seems to be influenced by perceived task importance. Objective: In the present study, we investigated the influence of task importance on the magnitude of age differences in event-based prospective memory. Methods: Healthy younger (n = 25) and older (n = 25) adults were instructed a priori to prioritize either the ongoing or the prospective memory task before performing an event-based prospective memory task. Results: We found an interaction between age and task importance: instructed higher importance of the ongoing task compared to the prospective memory task component produced significant age-related declines in prospective remembering. By contrast, if older adults treated the prospective memory task component as more important than the ongoing task, they achieved equivalent levels of prospective memory performance as their younger counterparts, but did so at a cost to ongoing task performance. Conclusions: The present data indicate that task importance is one of the factors determining the presence or absence of age deficits in prospective remembering. Findings are discussed in the context of limited processing resources in old age and theoretical frameworks of event-based prospective memory.",
keywords = "prospective memory, aging, motivation, task importance, attention",
author = "A. Hering and Phillips, {L. H.} and M. Kliegel",
year = "2013",
month = "12",
doi = "10.1159/000355057",
language = "English",
volume = "60",
pages = "73--78",
journal = "Gerontology",
issn = "0304-324X",
publisher = "S. Karger AG",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Importance effects on age differences in performance in event-based prospective memory

AU - Hering, A.

AU - Phillips, L. H.

AU - Kliegel, M.

PY - 2013/12

Y1 - 2013/12

N2 - Background: Most laboratory-based studies on prospective memory show a decline with increasing age. Theoretical explanations for age differences focus on the allocation of attentional resources to support prospective remembering. The recruitment of prospective memory target monitoring seems to be influenced by perceived task importance. Objective: In the present study, we investigated the influence of task importance on the magnitude of age differences in event-based prospective memory. Methods: Healthy younger (n = 25) and older (n = 25) adults were instructed a priori to prioritize either the ongoing or the prospective memory task before performing an event-based prospective memory task. Results: We found an interaction between age and task importance: instructed higher importance of the ongoing task compared to the prospective memory task component produced significant age-related declines in prospective remembering. By contrast, if older adults treated the prospective memory task component as more important than the ongoing task, they achieved equivalent levels of prospective memory performance as their younger counterparts, but did so at a cost to ongoing task performance. Conclusions: The present data indicate that task importance is one of the factors determining the presence or absence of age deficits in prospective remembering. Findings are discussed in the context of limited processing resources in old age and theoretical frameworks of event-based prospective memory.

AB - Background: Most laboratory-based studies on prospective memory show a decline with increasing age. Theoretical explanations for age differences focus on the allocation of attentional resources to support prospective remembering. The recruitment of prospective memory target monitoring seems to be influenced by perceived task importance. Objective: In the present study, we investigated the influence of task importance on the magnitude of age differences in event-based prospective memory. Methods: Healthy younger (n = 25) and older (n = 25) adults were instructed a priori to prioritize either the ongoing or the prospective memory task before performing an event-based prospective memory task. Results: We found an interaction between age and task importance: instructed higher importance of the ongoing task compared to the prospective memory task component produced significant age-related declines in prospective remembering. By contrast, if older adults treated the prospective memory task component as more important than the ongoing task, they achieved equivalent levels of prospective memory performance as their younger counterparts, but did so at a cost to ongoing task performance. Conclusions: The present data indicate that task importance is one of the factors determining the presence or absence of age deficits in prospective remembering. Findings are discussed in the context of limited processing resources in old age and theoretical frameworks of event-based prospective memory.

KW - prospective memory

KW - aging

KW - motivation

KW - task importance

KW - attention

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84890903219&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1159/000355057

DO - 10.1159/000355057

M3 - Article

VL - 60

SP - 73

EP - 78

JO - Gerontology

JF - Gerontology

SN - 0304-324X

IS - 1

ER -