An internet study of prospective memory across adulthood

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In an Internet study, 73,018 18–79-year-olds were asked to “remember to click the smiley face when it appears.” A smiley face was present/absent at encoding, and participants were told to expect it “at the end of the test”/“later in the test.” In all 4 conditions, the smiley face occurred after 20 min of retrospective memory tests. Prospective remembering benefited at all ages from both prior target exposure and temporal uncertainty; moreover, it resembled working memory in its linear decline from young adulthood. The study demonstrates the power of Internet methodology to reveal age-related deficits in a single-trial prospective memory task outside the laboratory.

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Journal Article

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