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Effects of aging and emotional valence on item directed forgetting and source attributions

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posted on 08.06.2021, 11:56 authored by Sara N. Gallant
Two experiments investigated the effects of aging and emotion on intentional forgetting. Experiment 1 compared 36 young (aged 18-28, M = 20.22, SD = 3.12) and 36 older adults (aged 65-85, M = 71.53, SD = 5.44) on item directed forgetting and source attributions (i.e., assigning a 'remember', 'forget', or 'new' tag during recognition) of positive, negative, and neutral words. Older adults' directed forgetting was reduced for positive words and their source attributions were differentially affected by emotion. Emotion had no effect on young adults' performance. Experiment 2 examined the role of attention in older adults' intentional forgetting. Thirty-six older adults (aged 65-91, M = 73.92, SD = 7.55) completed an emotional item directed forgetting task that incorporated a probe-detection task during encoding to assess the allocation of attention across valence conditions. Older adults again showed reduced directed forgetting for positive words and emotional effects in source attributions; however, results from the probe-detection task indicated the older adults' attention may not have been influenced by the emotional tone of stimuli during encoding.






Granting Institution

Ryerson University