Age differences have been observed in emotional modulation of long-term memory (LTM) but have not yet been investigated in short-term memory (STM) in a comparable manner. In this study, age differences in the effect of stimulus emotionality on STM for stimulus content were examined. Younger (18-29 years) and older (61-77 years) adults completed a STM task with angry, happy, and neutral faces. Memory for face identity was increased for angry and neutral compared to happy faces. The response bias was most conservative for angry, and most liberal for happy faces. No age differences were observed in this emotional modulation of STM. It is argued that this is not due to lack of statistical power or to participant characteristics, but rather to the constraint nature of the task (probe-guided retrieval and short retention interval). The current findings do not suggest that emotional modulation of STM changes across the lifespan.

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Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Langeslag, S.J.E, & van Strien, J.W. (2011). Aging and short-term memory for face identity of emotional faces. Retrieved from