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Dr. O'Brien in NY times – Older Adults and Memory Lapses July 2006

Research by Dr. Laurie O'Brien and colleague Mary Lee Hummert is discussed in a July 18, 2006 New York Times science article entitled A 'Senior Moment' or a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy? The research demonstrates that late middle age adults (48-62) performed poorly on a memory task when they believed that their performance would be compared to adults 70+ years of age (relative to a control group and to a group who expected comparison to 20-year olds).

Ironically, the stereotype that older adults have poor memories caused the memory deficit. Regardless of their chronological age, participants who saw themselves as relatively older were more susceptible to memory deficits when they were reminded of this stereotype about older adults. The article detailing the research appeared recently in the journal Social Cognition.

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