The Role of Processing Resources in Age-Related Prospective and Retrospective Memory Within Old Age

Melanie Zeintl, Matthias Kliegel, Scott M. Hofer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations


This study investigated the role of processing speed and working memory in prospective and retrospective memory (i.e., free recall) performance within old age. The aim was to examine age-related differences in both memory domains within the age range of 65 to 80 years. The sample consisted of 361 older adults from Wave 1 data of the Zurich Longitudinal Study on Cognitive Aging. Using structural equation modeling, prospective memory, free recall, working memory, and processing speed were identified as latent constructs. Age effects were found to be larger for prospective memory than for free recall. Furthermore, when controlling for individual differences in working memory and processing speed, unique age effects remained for prospective, but not retrospective, memory performance. Results indicate that, within old age, prospective memory represents a distinct memory construct that is partially independent of age-related individual differences in speed of processing, working memory, and retrospective memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)826-834
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology and Aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007



  • aging
  • processing speed
  • prospective memory
  • retrospective memory
  • working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Cite this