Both Younger and Older Adults Have Difficulty Updating Emotional Memories

Article, Other literature type OPEN
Kaoru Nashiro ; Michiko Sakaki ; Derek Huffman ; Mara Mather (2012)
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Journal: Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, volume 68, issue 2, pages 224-227
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbs039
  • Subject: Brief Report

Objective. The main purpose of the study was to examine whether emotion impairs associative memory for previously seen items in older adults, as previously observed in younger adults. \ud Method. Thirty-two younger adults and 32 older adults participated. The experiment consisted of 2 parts. In Part 1, participants learned picture–object associations for negative and neutral pictures. In Part 2, they learned picture–location associations for negative and neutral pictures; half of these pictures were seen in Part 1 whereas the other half were new. The dependent measure was how many locations of negative versus neutral items in the new versus old categories participants remembered in Part 2. \ud Results. Both groups had more difficulty learning the locations of old negative pictures than of new negative pictures. However, this pattern was not observed for neutral items. \ud \ud \ud Discussion. Despite the fact that older adults showed overall decline in associative memory, the impairing effect of emotion on updating associative memory was similar between younger and older adults.
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