Construct validity and age sensitivity of prospective memory

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


We administered four prospective memory tasks to 330 adults between 18 and 89 years of age to investigate the relationship among the measures of performance in the four tasks, as well as the relationship of the prospective memory measures to age, other cognitive abilities, and noncognitive factors. The four prospective memory variables were found to exhibit both convergent and discriminant validity, indicating that prospective memory ability appears to represent a distinct dimension of individual differences. The prospective memory construct was significantly related to other cognitive abilities, such as executive functioning, fluid intelligence, episodic memory, and perceptual speed, but it was only weakly related to self-ratings of (primarily retrospective) memory and to personality traits. Although a substantial proportion of the age-related variance on the prospective memory construct was shared with other cognitive abilities, we also found some evidence of unique, statistically independent, age-related influences on prospective memory.

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