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Exp Aging Res. 2006 Jan-Mar;32(1):23-45.

Memories of an emotional and a nonemotional event: effects of aging and delay interval.

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Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


The present study compared the memory of young and older adults for details pertaining to two public events of close temporal proximity but varying emotional import-the Columbia shuttle explosion and the 2003 Super Bowl. Participants responded to surveys sent within 2 weeks of these events and then again 7 months later, providing information about event-related details (i.e., of the events themselves) and personal details (i.e., of the reception event). Both age groups rated the shuttle tragedy as significantly more emotional than the Super Bowl, and although older adults often had poorer memory overall, both age groups remembered more about the shuttle than they did about the Super Bowl. Further, the age discrepancy (young adults remembering more than older adults) was less pronounced for the shuttle than for the Super Bowl. Thus, older adults' memories appear to benefit from the emotional salience of real-life events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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