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01-11-2014 | Review | Uitgave 6/2014

Psychological Research 6/2014

Prospective memory training in older adults and its relevance for successful aging

Psychological Research > Uitgave 6/2014
Alexandra Hering, Peter G. Rendell, Nathan S. Rose, Katharina M. Schnitzspahn, Matthias Kliegel


In research on cognitive plasticity, two training approaches have been established: (1) training of strategies to improve performance in a given task (e.g., encoding strategies to improve episodic memory performance) and (2) training of basic cognitive processes (e.g., working memory, inhibition) that underlie a range of more complex cognitive tasks (e.g., planning) to improve both the training target and the complex transfer tasks. Strategy training aims to compensate or circumvent limitations in underlying processes, while process training attempts to augment or to restore these processes. Although research on both approaches has produced some promising findings, results are still heterogeneous and the impact of most training regimes for everyday life is unknown. We, therefore, discuss recent proposals of training regimes aiming to improve prospective memory (i.e., forming and realizing delayed intentions) as this type of complex cognition is highly relevant for independent living. Furthermore, prospective memory is associated with working memory and executive functions and age-related decline is widely reported. We review initial evidence suggesting that both training regimes (i.e., strategy and/or process training) can successfully be applied to improve prospective memory. Conceptual and methodological implications of the findings for research on age-related prospective memory and for training research in general are discussed.

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