Divergent trajectories in the aging mind: changes in working memory for affective versus visual information with age.
Working memory mediates the short-term maintenance of information. Virtually all empirical research on working memory involves investigations of working memory for verbal and visual information. Whereas aging is typically associated with a deficit in working memory for these types of information, recent findings suggestive of relatively well-preserved long-term memory for emotional information in older adults raise questions about working memory for emotional material. This study examined age differences in working memory for emotional versus visual information. Findings demonstrate that, despite an age-related deficit for the latter, working memory for emotion was unimpaired. Further, older adults exhibited superior performance on positive relative to negative emotion trials, whereas their younger counterparts exhibited the opposite pattern.
Mikels, JA; Larkin, GR; Reuter-Lorenz, PA; Cartensen, LL
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