Age differences in self-set goal effects for memory
Carla Strickland-Hughes: 0000-0001-8446-8708
Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Research has shown that goal setting leads to gains in memory performance and memory self-efficacy across adulthood when goals are set by experimenters and accompanied by positive feedback. However, self-set memory goals have had less consistent impact. This research extended past studies on aging and memory goals to examine the impact of self-set goals using anchors to guide goal selection. Two trials of name, text, and list recall were administered to younger and older adults, comparing goal and no-goal groups. After baseline, participants assigned to the goal group set personal goals for memory gain on a second, post-goal trial for each of the three tasks. Anchoring for goal-setting was used to encourage the selection of realistic, yet challenging goals. Younger and older participants set comparable goals. Only younger adults showed a motivational response (higher gains across trials for goals than no goals), even though older adults reported being just as committed to their personal goals. Older adults may have failed to show reliable goal-related gains because no positive feedback was offered or because they were unable to activate effective strategies for improved performance.
West, R. L.,
Strickland-Hughes, C. M.,
Smith, K. A.
Age differences in self-set goal effects for memory.
Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 25(4), 484–489.