Stereotype Threat Alters the Subjective Experience of Memory

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Abstract

There is now evidence that negative age-related stereotypes about memory reduce older adults’ memory performance, and inflate age differences in this domain. Here, we examine whether stereotype threat may also influence the basic feeling that one is more or less able to remember. Using the Remember/Know paradigm, we demonstrated that stereotype threat conducted older adults to a greater feeling of familiarity with events, while failing to retrieve any contextual detail. This finding indicates that stereotype threat alters older adults’ subjective experience of memory, and strengthens our understanding of the mechanisms underlying stereotype threat effects.

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