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date: 27 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Many of the benefits conveyed to memory by socioemotional processing are preserved even as adults age. Like young adults, older adults are more likely to remember emotional information than neutral information and to benefit from self-referential processing of information. There is, however, one age-related change in emotional memory that has garnered widespread discussion in the psychological literature: the “positivity effect,” or the tendency for older adults to remember proportionally more positive information than do young adults. This essay discusses how an affective neuroscience perspective is revealing what aspects of socioemotional processing change with aging, shedding light on why aging preserves the memory benefits conveyed by socioemotional processing while at the same time influencing the valence of information that is most likely to be remembered.

Keywords: memory, socioemotional processing, aging, emotional memory, positivity effect, affective neuroscience

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