Emotional target cues eliminate age differences in prospective memory

Mareike Altgassen, Louise H. Phillips, Julie D. Henry, Peter G. Rendell, Matthias Kliegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Cue saliency is known to influence prospective memory performance, whereby perceptually or conceptually distinct cues facilitate remembering and attenuate adult age-related deficits. The present study investigated whether similar benefits for older adults are also seen for emotional valence. A total of 41 older and 41 younger adults performed a prospective memory task in which the emotional valence of the prospective memory cues was manipulated. Emotionally valenced cues increased prospective memory performance across both groups. Age deficits were only observed when neutral (but not positive or negative) prospective cues were presented. Findings are consistent with predictions that salient cues facilitate participants' prospective memory performance and reduce age-related differences, while extending the concept of saliency to include emotional valence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1057-1064
Number of pages8
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • prospective memory
  • ageing
  • emotion processing
  • adutls
  • amygdala
  • older
  • attention
  • younger


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