Memory and Aging: Current Issues and Future Directions

Memory and Aging: Current Issues and Future Directions

Memory and Aging: Current Issues and Future Directions

Memory and Aging: Current Issues and Future Directions

Synopsis

Current demographical patterns predict an aging worldwide population. It is projected that by 2050, more than 20% of the US population and 40% of the Japanese population will be older than 65. A dramatic increase in research on memory and aging has emerged to understand the age-related changes in memory since the ability to learn new information and retrieve previously learned information is essential for successful aging, and allows older adults to adapt to changes in their environment, self-concept, and social roles.

This volume represents the latest psychological research on different aspects of age-related changes in memory. Written by a group of leading international researchers, its chapters cover a broad array of issues concerning the changes that occur in memory as people grow older, including the mechanisms and processes underlying these age-related memory changes, how these changes interact with social and cultural environments, and potential programs intended to increase memory performance in old age. Similarly, the chapters draw upon diverse methodological approaches, including cross-cultural extreme group experimental designs, longitudinal designs assessing intra-participant change, and computational approaches and neuroimaging assessment. Together, they provide converging evidence for stability and change in memory as people grow older, for the underlying causes of these patterns, as well as for the heterogeneity in older adults' performance.

Memory and Agingis essential reading for researchers in memory, cognitive aging, and gerontology.

Excerpt

Current demographical patterns predict an aging population worldwide. It is projected that by the year 2050, more than 20% of the US population and 40% of the Japanese population will be older than 65. It is particularly apt, therefore, that psychological research on aging, in general, and on memory and aging, in particular, is growing. This is reflected in scientific databases showing a dramatic increase in articles relating to memory and aging over the last 50 years. It is important to understand these age-related changes in memory because the ability to learn new information and retrieve previously learned information is essential for successful aging, allowing older adults to adapt to changes in their environment, self-concept, and social roles.

This book represents the latest psychological research on different aspects of age-related changes in memory. Its chapters, written by a group of leading international researchers in the field, cover a broad array of issues concerning the changes that occur in memory as people grow older. These include the mechanisms and processes underlying these age-related memory changes, how these changes interact with social and cultural environments, and potential programs intended to increase memory performance in old age. These chapters likewise draw upon diverse methodological approaches, including cross-sectional extreme group experimental designs, longitudinal designs assessing intraparticipant change, and computational approaches and neuroimaging assessment. Together, they provide converging evidence for stability and change in memory as people grow older and for the underlying causes of these patterns, as well as for the heterogeneity in older adults’ performance.

The book is divided into four parts. Part 1 deals with behavioral changes and stability in short-term and working-memory functions. Chapter 1, by Paul Verhaeghen, includes a discussion of potential changes in basic processes in working memory, showing an interesting dissociation between age-related changes in updating mechanisms, which seem to stay intact in older adults, and an age-related decline in availability of items once out of the focus of attention. In Chapter 2, Susan Kemper assesses how working-memory limitations affect older adults’ use of complex syntactic productions, showing age-related decline in the production and processing . . .

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