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Psychol Aging. 1992 Mar;7(1):25-36.

The role of psychosocial context, age, and intelligence in memory performance of older men.

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Centre for Research in Human Development, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


The hypothesis that psychosocial contextual factors contribute to developmental changes in memory was examined using 326 male World War II veterans. Availability of young adult intelligence scores made it possible to separate the contributions of contextual variables and age to maintenance of general intelligence from their direct contributions to performance on 4 memory tasks. Being younger, healthier, more educated, more introverted, more intellectually active, and more satisfied with social support predicted less intellectual decline and, indirectly, better memory performance. Age, personality, locus of control, and extent of social support directly contributed to performance on 1 or more memory tasks. Age contributions were consistent with Craik's (1986) proposed continuum of task demands for self-initiated effort. Possible elaborations of Craik's hypothesis to accommodate contextual variables are suggested.

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