An older adult advantage in autobiographical recall

Badham, S.P. ORCID: 0000-0002-6890-102X, Justice, L.V. ORCID: 0000-0003-3394-2283, Jones, L.N. and Myers, J.A.C., 2022. An older adult advantage in autobiographical recall. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition. ISSN 1382-5585

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This pre-registered online study aimed to measure the effect of environmental support on age-differences in autobiographical memory alongside memory for images. Young and older adults reported autobiographical memories about which they regularly thought (high environmental support through practice) or that were experimentally cued to be mundane (low environmental support). The support manipulation was also applied to descriptions of images that were produced whilst images remained on screen (high support) or produced from memory (low support). In line with existing theory, support disproportionately benefitted older adults in the quantity of information produced. However, analysis of the autobiographical descriptions showed no age deficit in reporting episodic detail, in contrast to much of the existing literature. A second group of young and older adults also evaluated the descriptions produced, and older adults’ descriptions were consistently rated as higher quality than young adults’ descriptions across several dimensions such as vividness and clarity. An unplanned meta-analysis was conducted to assess if a publication bias existed in the literature favouring the reporting of age-deficits in producing episodic detail in autobiographical memory: there was no evidence for a bias and the modal result of age deficits was generally supported. A key distinction is that the current study was conducted online - evidence is presented to argue that older adults may perform better at autobiographical memory tasks outside the lab.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Creators: Badham, S.P., Justice, L.V., Jones, L.N. and Myers, J.A.C.
Publisher: Routledge
Date: 14 April 2022
ISSN: 1382-5585
Rights: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition on 14 April 2022, available at: © 2022 the author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 12 Apr 2022 09:05
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2023 03:00

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