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The mnemic neglect effect and information about dementia: age differences in recall

The mnemic neglect effect and information about dementia: age differences in recall
The mnemic neglect effect and information about dementia: age differences in recall
As the risk of dementia increases with age, the condition represents a more immediate threat for older than for younger adults. Consequently, the strategies that younger and older people use to defend the self against the threat of dementia may vary, with the latter more likely to recruit psychological defence mechanisms such as mnemic neglect (in which information that is threatening to the self is selectively forgotten) to reduce distress. We tested the hypothesis that older (compared to younger) adults are more likely to manifest mnemic neglect for dementia-related information. Fifty-nine younger adults (aged under 50) and 44 older adults (aged over 50) recalled 24 dementia-related statements that were either high or low in negativity. Participants were randomised to recall statements that referred either to themselves or another person. High-negativity, self-referent statements had the most substantial threat potential. Older and younger participants showed different recall patterns: the recall of older (but not younger) participants for high-negativity (vs. low-negativity) dementia-related statements was impaired when these statements referred to the self rather than to another person. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that older, but not younger, adults evince mnemic neglect in response to self-threatening information about dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease, amnesia, anterograde, dementia, memory, mnemic neglect, self-concept, short-term
1382-5585
Cheston, R.
fe57d85e-9c08-4d09-93a9-ea50299b62b9
Dodd, E.
73629d46-1742-457c-9080-de4f5116ebd6
Christopher, G.
7895539c-e47f-45f8-9b53-e326472bd4b7
Wildschut, T.
4452a61d-1649-4c4a-bb1d-154ec446ff81
Sedikides, C.
9d45e66d-75bb-44de-87d7-21fd553812c2
Cheston, R.
fe57d85e-9c08-4d09-93a9-ea50299b62b9
Dodd, E.
73629d46-1742-457c-9080-de4f5116ebd6
Christopher, G.
7895539c-e47f-45f8-9b53-e326472bd4b7
Wildschut, T.
4452a61d-1649-4c4a-bb1d-154ec446ff81
Sedikides, C.
9d45e66d-75bb-44de-87d7-21fd553812c2

Cheston, R., Dodd, E., Christopher, G., Wildschut, T. and Sedikides, C. (2020) The mnemic neglect effect and information about dementia: age differences in recall. Neuropsychology, Development and Cognition. Section B: Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition. (doi:10.1080/13825585.2020.1842850).

Record type: Article

Abstract

As the risk of dementia increases with age, the condition represents a more immediate threat for older than for younger adults. Consequently, the strategies that younger and older people use to defend the self against the threat of dementia may vary, with the latter more likely to recruit psychological defence mechanisms such as mnemic neglect (in which information that is threatening to the self is selectively forgotten) to reduce distress. We tested the hypothesis that older (compared to younger) adults are more likely to manifest mnemic neglect for dementia-related information. Fifty-nine younger adults (aged under 50) and 44 older adults (aged over 50) recalled 24 dementia-related statements that were either high or low in negativity. Participants were randomised to recall statements that referred either to themselves or another person. High-negativity, self-referent statements had the most substantial threat potential. Older and younger participants showed different recall patterns: the recall of older (but not younger) participants for high-negativity (vs. low-negativity) dementia-related statements was impaired when these statements referred to the self rather than to another person. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that older, but not younger, adults evince mnemic neglect in response to self-threatening information about dementia.

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Cheston et al. in press - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 23 October 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 October 2020
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, amnesia, anterograde, dementia, memory, mnemic neglect, self-concept, short-term

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 444587
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/444587
ISSN: 1382-5585
PURE UUID: dbb7617d-c835-4a32-80e7-9c83da070ffe
ORCID for C. Sedikides: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4036-889X

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Date deposited: 26 Oct 2020 17:32
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 06:14

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Contributors

Author: R. Cheston
Author: E. Dodd
Author: G. Christopher
Author: T. Wildschut
Author: C. Sedikides ORCID iD

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