Reduction of the self-reference effect in younger and older adults

Jackson, Jonathan D, Luu, Cindy, Vigderman, Abigail, Leshikar, Eric D, St Jacques, Peggy and Gutchess, Angela (2018) Reduction of the self-reference effect in younger and older adults. Psychology and Neuroscience. ISSN 1984-3054

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Relating information to the self improves memory. However, this self-reference effect (SRE) is typically studied through explicit self-judgments on individual trials. The current study assessed whether a self-referential mode of thought, induced through a writing task, also induced an SRE on a later task. The study also tested the effects of aging on the SRE, given that a long-lasting mnemonic strategy may be especially relevant for this group. Ninety-two younger adults and 60 older adults were assigned to different writing conditions and then completed an unrelated SRE task. Across younger and older adults, the classic SRE effect was observed in the narrative writing condition, reduced in the semantic self-reference condition, and further reduced in the episodic self-reference condition. These results support the induction of a self-referential mode of thought, but this mode does not enhance memory. The classic SRE effect can be reduced after thinking about the self by reflecting on autobiographical memories. Results argue for a single shared self-referential mechanism that can be accessed through self-focused writing or the classic SRE task.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: self-reference, autobiographical memory, aging, self, recall
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Research Centres and Groups: Andrew and Virginia Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice
Depositing User: Ellena Adams
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2018 13:55
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2018 09:56

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