chapter  6
60 Pages

New Considerations in Aging and Memory: The Glass May Be Half Full: Mark A. McDaniel, Gilles O. Einstein, and Larry L. Jacoby

WithGlass May Be Half Full

Previous reviews of memory and aging, including those in prior volumes of The Handbook of Aging and Cognition, have critically examined the welldocumented age-related declines in memory. These reviews provide superb coverage of the range of memory paradigms and tasks for which older adults demonstrate declines in memory performance relative to younger adults and highlight the contemporary theoretical approaches to explaining age-related memory decline (e.g., Craik & Jennings, 1992; Kausler, 1994; Light, 1991; Smith, 1996; Zacks, Hasher, & Li, 2000). For a number of reasons, in this chapter we instead plumb different themes. Specifically, we examine recent work indicating that variables other than purely cognitive ones may account for at least some of the age-related decline. Next, we explore and evaluate research suggesting memory processes that are preserved in older adults, as well as factors such as individual differences that may help sustain memory performance in older adults. Continuing in this vein, in the final section we consider the value of interventions ranging from training regimens to physical activity to “brain-specific” supplements for improving or maintaining memory with age.