How frequently do you forget in everyday life? : A diary study of prospective and retrospective memory errors in young and old healthy adults
Memory research has commonly been conducted in the laboratory, where large age effects have been observed. In contrast, research using self-report questionnaires assessing retrospective and prospective memory has shown no age effects. In the case of the Everyday Memory Questionnaire (EMQ), if anything, older people appear better. Although a diary method can give more accurate insight into everyday memory processes, there are very few diary studies of everyday memory errors. This study compares memory performance of younger (N=12, age 24-48, mean age=38.6y) and older healthy adults (N=17, age 66-88, mean age=78.6y), using telephone-based cognitive tests (COGTEL; TICS-M), a battery of self-report questionnaires, and 28-day diaries of everyday memory errors. Results will compare the number of errors committed across different age groups and types of recorded errors (classified as prospective, retrospective and absent-minded or attentional errors). In addition, all participants completed a laboratory-based prospective memory task, as part of the COGTEL. This enables us to examine age effects on prospective memory in and outside the laboratory, and provides further insight into possible mechanisms of the prospective memory and ageing paradox. The paradox refers to a contrasting pattern of age effects on prospective memory where older adults often perform worse in the laboratory but outperform young participants outside the laboratory.