Memory Beliefs as Social Cognition: A Reconceptualization of What Memory Questionnaires Assess

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Few attempts have been made to integrate research on memory beliefs across adulthood with related constructs in social cognition. This article addresses the issue of how respondents formulate answers to memory-beliefs questions from a social–cognitive perspective. We propose that reported memory beliefs represent the outcomes of a process that involves both the retrieval of previously stored information about self and about memory and on-line constructive processes. This article offers a set of assumptions that clarifies existing data on memory beliefs and generates new hypotheses regarding the interactions between beliefs about the aging process, memory, and constructs such as memory self-efficacy and how such variables combine with the on-line constructive processes to produce individual differences in responses.

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