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PLOS ONE  2012 

Transparent Meta-Analysis: Does Aging Spare Prospective Memory with Focal vs. Non-Focal Cues?

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016618

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Prospective memory (ProM) is the ability to become aware of a previously-formed plan at the right time and place. For over twenty years, researchers have been debating whether prospective memory declines with aging or whether it is spared by aging and, most recently, whether aging spares prospective memory with focal vs. non-focal cues. Two recent meta-analyses examining these claims did not include all relevant studies and ignored prevalent ceiling effects, age confounds, and did not distinguish between prospective memory subdomains (e.g., ProM proper, vigilance, habitual ProM) (see Uttl, 2008, PLoS ONE). The present meta-analysis focuses on the following questions: Does prospective memory decline with aging? Does prospective memory with focal vs. non-focal cues decline with aging? Does the size of age-related declines with focal vs. non-focal cues vary across ProM subdomains? And are age-related declines in ProM smaller than age-related declines in retrospective memory?


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