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Trends Cogn Sci. 2005 Oct;9(10):496-502.

Aging and motivated cognition: the positivity effect in attention and memory.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA. mather@ucsc.edu

Abstract

As people get older, they experience fewer negative emotions. Strategic processes in older adults' emotional attention and memory might play a role in this variation with age. Older adults show more emotionally gratifying memory distortion for past choices and autobiographical information than younger adults do. In addition, when shown stimuli that vary in affective valence, positive items account for a larger proportion of older adults' subsequent memories than those of younger adults. This positivity effect in older adults' memories seems to be due to their greater focus on emotion regulation and to be implemented by cognitive control mechanisms that enhance positive and diminish negative information. These findings suggest that both cognitive abilities and motivation contribute to older adults' improved emotion regulation.

PMID:
16154382
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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