Toronto Metropolitan University
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Basic and Evolutionary Survival Effects in Adaptive Memory of Younger and Older Adults

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posted on 2023-02-13, 18:06 authored by Karen P.L. Lau
Adaptive memory is a memory advantage for stimuli encoded in a survival scenario (e.g., stranded in grasslands) relative to a control scenario (Nairne, Thompson & Pandeirada, 2007). Basic (survival vs. non-survival scenarios) and evolutionary survival effects (high-evolutionary survival vs. low-evolutionary survival scenarios) in adaptive memory were explored in two age groups. Little research has been done with older adults. An extensive pilot study was conducted to select best matched control scenarios. Experiment 1 explored age differences in adaptive memory with a within-subjects manipulation of scenarios and found an age-equivalent basic survival effect. Experiment 2 replicated the basic survival effect in younger adults with a between-subjects design. Considering the age-related preference for processing positive information in older adults, Experiment 3 examined the survival effect with a positive control scenario. Similar results to the previous experiments were found. Overall, the data demonstrated a robust but age equivalent basic survival effect.





  • Master of Arts


  • Psychology

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • Thesis