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Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. 2019 May 23:1-15. doi: 10.1080/13825585.2019.1620913. [Epub ahead of print]

Influence of culture and age on the self-reference effect.

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a Department of Psychology , Brandeis University , Waltham , USA.
b Graduate Institute of Brain and Mind Sciences, College of Medicine , National Taiwan University , Taipei , Taiwan.
c CARE Research Center , Massachusetts General Hospital , Boston , USA.


Relating information to oneself can enhance memory for young and older adults. However, most studies investigating self-referencing have focused on Western populations, for whom the self is considered an independent and distinct entity. Whether self-referencing as a mnemonic strategy similarly benefits East Asians, cultures associated with interdependent self-construal, has been investigated little, particularly with age. In this study, we investigated the effect of self-reference on memory for both younger and older adults from American and Taiwanese cultures, predicting that self-referencing would be a less effective strategy for younger and older adults from Taiwan compared to Americans. Results reveal some cultural differences with age, with Taiwanese older adults benefitting less from self-referencing than younger Taiwanese, though the effect did not differ with age for Americans, or between younger adults across cultures. Thus, our results suggest that the potential mnemonic benefits of self-referencing may be limited in older adults from Eastern cultures.


Memory; aging; culture; self; source memory

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