Publications by authors named "Daniel Zimprich"

39 Publications

The valence and the functions of autobiographical memories: Does intensity matter?

Conscious Cogn 2021 05 26;91:103119. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

Department of Developmental Psychology, Ulm University, Albert-Einstein-Allee 47, 89081 Ulm, Germany.

Autobiographical memories serve psychosocial functions in daily life and the use of memories is related to their valence. In the present study, we examined whether functions are also related to the intensity of positive and negative memories. Our sample included 110 participants (57-89 years of age). Memories were prompted with 30 emotionally neutral cue words. Participants rated the emotional quality of each memory and indicated how frequently they had recalled it for self-continuity, directing behavior, social-bonding, and mood-enhancement. We used multilevel modeling to test whether individual differences in the use of memories can explain why individuals recall different numbers of positive and negative memories as well as memories high or low in intensity. Each function revealed its specific pattern regarding valence and intensity but also regarding within-person and between-person effects. Mood-enhancement showed the strongest relations, which points to the importance of considering emotion regulation as a function of autobiographical memory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2021.103119DOI Listing
May 2021

Order effects in the recall of autobiographical memories: evidence for an organisation along temporal and emotional features.

Memory 2021 03 12;29(3):379-395. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

Department of Developmental Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany.

Investigating the recall process of autobiographical memories (AMs) and, particularly, the order in which AMs are recalled has the potential to shed light on the organisation of autobiographical memory. However, research on order effects in the recall of AMs is relatively rare. Moreover, to date, no study addressed the question of where emotion fits into the organisation. The present study aimed to close this gap by examining whether emotional valence serves as one organising principle. Data come from 117 older adults ( = 74.11; SD = 7.06) who reported up to 39 AMs. The use of a multivariate multilevel model with autoregressive effects allows us to analyse the order effect within one person, as well as how the order effect differs between persons. The results replicated a temporal first-order effect that has been shown in previous studies and moreover, demonstrated a temporal second-order effect. Furthermore, our results indicated an emotional first-order effect that was even stronger than the temporal first-order effect and an emotional second-order effect. In addition, both first-order effects differed reliably between persons. Thus, the present study emphasises the need for considering emotion in current theoretical formulations of autobiographical memory and also of considering individual differences in the order of AMs recalled.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2021.1896735DOI Listing
March 2021

Are interoceptive accuracy scores from the heartbeat counting task problematic? A comment on Zamariola et al. (2018).

Biol Psychol 2020 04 22;152:107868. Epub 2020 Feb 22.

Developmental Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University, Albert-Einstein-Allee 47, 89081 Ulm, Germany.

In a recently published article, Zamariola et al. (2018) listed four problems of interoceptive accuracy (IAcc) scores as measured with Schandry's heartbeat counting task. In this comment, we clarify that IAcc scores are ratio variables, the analyses of which can result in misleading interpretations and incorrect conclusions. We examine the findings of Zamariola et al. (2018) by reanalyzing their data using statistical methods more adequate than the bivariate correlational analyses conducted by Zamariola et al. (2018) and by reinterpreting the results taking into account the fact that IAcc scores are ratio variables. Our findings indicate that the problems enlisted by Zamariola et al. (2018) can mainly be attributed to the statistical nature of IAcc scores and to the analysis approach of using bivariate correlations. We infer that the problems of IAcc scores mentioned by Zamariola et al. (2018) are not as serious as they might appear at first glance. In turn, we briefly mention some other problems of IAcc scores researchers may face based on the fact that ratio variables are bounded.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2020.107868DOI Listing
April 2020

What characterizes the reminiscence bump in autobiographical memory? New answers to an old question.

Mem Cognit 2020 05;48(4):607-622

Developmental Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University, Albert-Einstein-Allee 47, 89081, Ulm, Germany.

The reminiscence bump represents one of the most robust findings in autobiographical memory research. As such, it has led to a number of different explanatory accounts that aim to elucidate it. Because most of these accounts have received some empirical support, it has been assumed that they may equally contribute to the explanation of the reminiscence bump phenomenon. In the present study, we used a multilevel multinomial mixed-effects model to examine the predictive power of explanatory variables selected from different accounts simultaneously. Analyses were based on 2,813 autobiographical memories that 97 older adults aged between 60 and 88 years reported in response to 31 cue words. Overall, the predictor variables (i.e., first-time experience, importance and emotional valence) meaningfully distinguished memories from the reminiscence bump from memories from life periods before and after. These effects, however, did not always go into the hypothesized directions. In addition, results of a Commonality Analysis indicated that although the explanatory accounts considered in the present study draw on qualities of autobiographical memories (within-person effects), they might be more useful in explaining why individuals differ in the number of autobiographical memories reported from the reminiscence bump period (between-person effects). Taken together, our findings are in line with a more integrative view on the reminiscence bump that, additionally, emphasizes the individual (e.g., the life-story account).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13421-019-00994-6DOI Listing
May 2020

A Coordinated Multi-study Analysis of the Longitudinal Association Between Handgrip Strength and Cognitive Function in Older Adults.

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 2021 01;76(2):229-241

Department of Psychology, University of Victoria, Canada.

Objective: Handgrip strength, an indicator of overall muscle strength, has been found to be associated with slower rate of cognitive decline and decreased risk for cognitive impairment and dementia. However, evaluating the replicability of associations between aging-related changes in physical and cognitive functioning is challenging due to differences in study designs and analytical models. A multiple-study coordinated analysis approach was used to generate new longitudinal results based on comparable construct-level measurements and identical statistical models and to facilitate replication and research synthesis.

Methods: We performed coordinated analysis on 9 cohort studies affiliated with the Integrative Analysis of Longitudinal Studies of Aging and Dementia (IALSA) research network. Bivariate linear mixed models were used to examine associations among individual differences in baseline level, rate of change, and occasion-specific variation across grip strength and indicators of cognitive function, including mental status, processing speed, attention and working memory, perceptual reasoning, verbal ability, and learning and memory. Results were summarized using meta-analysis.

Results: After adjustment for covariates, we found an overall moderate association between change in grip strength and change in each cognitive domain for both males and females: Average correlation coefficient was 0.55 (95% CI = 0.44-0.56). We also found a high level of heterogeneity in this association across studies.

Discussion: Meta-analytic results from nine longitudinal studies showed consistently positive associations between linear rates of change in grip strength and changes in cognitive functioning. Future work will benefit from the examination of individual patterns of change to understand the heterogeneity in rates of aging and health-related changes across physical and cognitive biomarkers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbz072DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7813182PMC
January 2021

A Bayesian nonlinear mixed-effects location scale model for learning.

Behav Res Methods 2019 10;51(5):1968-1986

University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, USA.

We present a Bayesian nonlinear mixed-effects location scale model (NL-MELSM). The NL-MELSM allows for fitting nonlinear functions to the location, or individual means, and the scale, or within-person variance. Specifically, in the context of learning, this model allows the within-person variance to follow a nonlinear trajectory, where it can be determined whether variability reduces during learning. It incorporates a sub-model that can predict nonlinear parameters for both the location and scale. This specification estimates random effects for all nonlinear location and scale parameters that are drawn from a common multivariate distribution. This allows estimation of covariances among the random effects, within and across the location and the scale. These covariances offer new insights into the interplay between individual mean structures and intra-individual variability in nonlinear parameters. We take a fully Bayesian approach, not only for ease of estimation but also for inference because it provides the necessary and consistent information for use in psychological applications, such as model selection and hypothesis testing. To illustrate the model, we use data from 333 individuals, consisting of three age groups, who participated in five learning trials that assessed verbal memory. In an exploratory context, we demonstrate that fitting a nonlinear function to the within-person variance, and allowing for individual variation therein, improves predictive accuracy compared to customary modeling techniques (e.g., assuming constant variance). We conclude by discussing the usefulness, limitations, and future directions of the NL-MELSM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13428-019-01255-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6800615PMC
October 2019

Leveling up the analysis of the reminiscence bump in autobiographical memory: A new approach based on multilevel multinomial models.

Mem Cognit 2018 10;46(7):1178-1193

Department of Developmental Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University, Albert-Einstein-Allee 47, 89081, Ulm, Germany.

In many studies of autobiographical memory, participants are asked to generate more than one autobiographical memory. The resulting data then have a hierarchical or multilevel structure, in the sense that the autobiographical memories (Level 1) generated by the same person (Level 2) tend to be more similar. Transferred to an analysis of the reminiscence bump in autobiographical memory, at Level 1 the prediction of whether an autobiographical memory will fall within the reminiscence bump is based on the characteristics of that memory. At Level 2, the prediction of whether an individual will report more autobiographical memories that fall in the reminiscence bump is based on the characteristics of the individual. We suggest a multilevel multinomial model that allows for analyzing whether an autobiographical memory falls in the reminiscence bump at both levels of analysis simultaneously. The data come from 100 older participants who reported up to 33 autobiographical memories. Our results showed that about 12% of the total variance was between persons (Level 2). Moreover, at Level 1, memories of first-time experiences were more likely to fall in the reminiscence bump than were emotionally more positive memories. At Level 2, persons who reported more emotionally positive memories tended to report fewer memories from the life period after the reminiscence bump. In addition, cross-level interactions showed that the effects at Level 1 partly depended on the Level 2 effects. We discuss possible extensions of the model we present and the meaning of our findings for two prominent explanatory approaches to the reminiscence bump, as well as future directions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13421-018-0830-8DOI Listing
October 2018

The distribution and the functions of autobiographical memories: Why do older adults remember autobiographical memories from their youth?

Eur J Ageing 2016 Sep 12;13(3):241-250. Epub 2016 Apr 12.

Department of Developmental Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University, Albert-Einstein-Allee 47, 89081 Ulm, Germany.

In the present study, the distribution of autobiographical memories was examined from a functional perspective: we examined whether the extent to which long-term autobiographical memories were rated as having a self-, a directive, or a social function affects the location (mean age) and scale (standard deviation) of the memory distribution. Analyses were based on a total of 5598 autobiographical memories generated by 149 adults aged between 50 and 81 years in response to 51 cue-words. Participants provided their age at the time when the recalled events had happened and rated how frequently they recall these events for self-, directive, and social purposes. While more frequently using autobiographical memories for self-functions was associated with an earlier mean age, memories frequently shared with others showed a narrower distribution around a later mean age. The directive function, by contrast, did not affect the memory distribution. The results strengthen the assumption that experiences from an individual's late adolescence serve to maintain a sense of self-continuity throughout the lifespan. Experiences that are frequently shared with others, in contrast, stem from a narrow age range located in young adulthood.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10433-016-0372-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5550639PMC
September 2016

How can individual differences in autobiographical memory distributions of older adults be explained?

Memory 2016 10 22;24(9):1287-99. Epub 2015 Oct 22.

a Department of Developmental Psychology , Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University , Ulm , Germany.

The reminiscence bump phenomenon has frequently been reported for the recall of autobiographical memories. The present study complements previous research by examining individual differences in the distribution of word-cued autobiographical memories. More importantly, we introduce predictor variables that might account for individual differences in the mean (location) and the standard deviation (scale) of individual memory distributions. All variables were derived from different theoretical accounts for the reminiscence bump phenomenon. We used a mixed location-scale logitnormal model, to analyse the 4602 autobiographical memories reported by 118 older participants. Results show reliable individual differences in the location and the scale. After controlling for age and gender, individual proportions of first-time experiences and individual proportions of positive memories, as well as the ratings on Openness to new Experiences and Self-Concept Clarity accounted for 29% of individual differences in location and 42% of individual differences in scale of autobiographical memory distributions. Results dovetail with a life-story account for the reminiscence bump which integrates central components of previous accounts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2015.1102291DOI Listing
October 2016

Subjective and Objective Memory Changes in Old Age across Five Years.

Gerontology 2015 19;61(3):223-31. Epub 2015 Mar 19.

Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany.

Typically, subjective memory assessments (be it in form of single items or questionnaires) in old age only weakly correlate with the performance in objective memory tests at cross-section. It thus appears as if individual differences in subjective memory assessments hardly reflect individual differences in memory in old age. A shortcoming of cross-sectional studies, however, is that subjective assessments may rely on different individual standards, which are not taken into account. One solution to this problem has been to investigate subjective and objective memory longitudinally, thereby focusing on individual differences in intraindividual changes. Results from studies using this approach have been mixed, with some studies showing a significantly stronger relation between changes than between levels, and other studies showing no such significant difference. Using data from the Zurich Longitudinal Study on Cognitive Aging (n=236), we find that 5-year changes in subjective assessments of memory capacity and memory changes correlate with objective memory changes of 0.54 and -0.44, respectively. These correlations are significantly stronger than at cross-section. After controlling for age, depressive affect, and subjective health at the first measurement occasion, correlations are slightly attenuated, but the basic findings remain the same.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000369927DOI Listing
April 2016

Differences in the use of autobiographical memory across the adult lifespan.

Memory 2015 24;23(8):1238-54. Epub 2014 Oct 24.

a Department of Developmental Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education , University of Ulm , Ulm , Germany.

Current research distinguishes between self, directive and social function of autobiographical memories (AMs). To date, only few studies have investigated these functions across adulthood. The comparison of different age groups requires that the functions of AM are measured in the same way across groups (measurement invariance, MI). Additionally to the average use of AM, the factor variances and factor covariances among the three functions were examined across adulthood. In the present study, 1290 adults (aged between 17 and 93 years) completed the Thinking about Life Experiences Questionnaire (TALE), which measures the overall use of AMs for self, directive and social purposes. The sample was divided into five age groups and partial strong MI was established using multigroup confirmatory factor analysis. The results showed an increase in the factor associations as well as a decrease in the factor mean levels of all three functions across age groups. Both findings could be adequately described by linear functions of age. The factor variances were on most parts equal across age groups. These results strengthen the assumption that--from a lifespan developmental perspective--the use of AM may be aligned with relatively normative developmental tasks in a given society.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2014.971815DOI Listing
July 2016

Individual differences in subjective organization and verbal learning in old age.

Exp Aging Res 2014 ;40(5):531-54

a Department of Developmental Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education , University of Ulm , Ulm , Germany.

Unlabelled: BACKGROUND/STUDY CONTEXT: Previous research has shown an increase of subjective organization of stimuli and of recall performance across learning trials. However, up to date, it has not been examined whether subjective organization and recall performance are positively related also at the level of the individual. To close this gap, parameters of verbal learning were regressed on growth parameters of subjective organization.

Methods: The sample for this investigation involved N = 205 subjects (65 to 80 years old). Participants learned a word list containing 27 unrelated words, presented randomly across five trials. Subjective organization was measured by using the Paired Frequency measure.

Results: Overall, there were reliable individual differences with regard to both subjective organization and verbal learning. RESULTS showed that the learning parameters were positively correlated with the initial level and linear slope of subjective organization. Furthermore, growth parameters of subjective organization turned out to be reliable predictors of verbal learning.

Conclusion: The present study emphasized the role of analyzing individual differences in subjective organization. Implications are discussed, in particular, regarding the interdependency of subjective organization and verbal learning in old age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0361073X.2014.956619DOI Listing
June 2015

Individual differences in criterion-based dropout learning in old age: the role of processing speed and verbal knowledge.

Eur J Ageing 2014 Jun 10;11(2):183-193. Epub 2013 Oct 10.

Department of Developmental Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education, University of Ulm, Albert-Einstein-Allee 47, 89081 Ulm, Germany.

In the present study, individual differences in criterion-based dropout learning in old age were investigated. The predictive role of processing speed and verbal knowledge for individual differences in this type of learning was analyzed. Learning trajectories were modeled using a multilevel approach based on  = 47 older participants ( = 69.3, SD = 6.4). Participants learned five lists of eight cue-target word pairs across six study-test cycles maximally possible. Results indicate that there were reliable individual differences in the initial level, speed of learning, and quadratic growth of learning. After adjusting for age-related effects, both higher verbal knowledge and higher processing speed had a positive effect on speed of learning. Additionally, verbal knowledge had a negative effect on quadratic growth of learning. Speed of learning and quadratic growth had a positive effect on a delayed recall test after adjusting for effects of processing speed and verbal knowledge. These results emphasize the role of cognitive abilities for individual differences in criterion-based dropout learning in old age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10433-013-0293-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549144PMC
June 2014

Individual differences and predictors of forgetting in old age: the role of processing speed and working memory.

Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn 2013 14;20(2):195-219. Epub 2012 Jun 14.

Department of Developmental Psychology, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.

The goal of the present study was to examine whether individual differences in basic cognitive abilities, processing speed, and working memory, are reliable predictors of individual differences in forgetting rates in old age. The sample for the present study comprised 364 participants aged between 65 and 80 years from the Zurich Longitudinal Study on Cognitive Aging. The impact of basic cognitive abilities on forgetting was analyzed by modeling working memory and processing speed as predictors of the amount of forgetting of 27 words, which had been learned across five trials. Forgetting was measured over a 30-minute interval by using parceling and a latent change model, in which the latent difference between recall performance after five learning trials and a delayed recall was modeled. Results implied reliable individual differences in forgetting. These individual differences in forgetting were strongly related to processing speed and working memory. Moreover, an age-related effect, which was significantly stronger for forgetting than for learning, emerged even after controlling effects of processing speed and working memory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13825585.2012.690364DOI Listing
August 2013

Anger expression in Swiss adolescents: establishing measurement invariance across gender in the AX scales.

J Adolesc 2012 Aug 10;35(4):1013-22. Epub 2012 Mar 10.

Institute of Psychogerontology, Methods and Prevention Research, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Naegelsbachstrasse 25, D-91052 Erlangen, Germany.

The present study examined measurement invariance in the three anger expression subscales of the STAXI (Spielberger, 1988) with respect to gender. In a sample of 576 male and 531 female students, strict measurement invariance was found. For all three anger expression factors, no differences in variances or factor correlations were found. A large negative relation between Anger-Out and Anger-Control emerged. Girls reported significantly lower levels in Anger-Out and Anger-Control than boys. Results suggest that the questionnaire functions the same way across gender. Also, boys and girls exhibited the same range of interindividual differences in anger expression. The negative relation between Anger-Out and Anger-Control suggests that high levels of Anger-Out might be an obstacle in controlling anger. Lower levels of Anger-Out and -Control in girls suggest that girls might need less control because they express anger less outwardly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2012.02.008DOI Listing
August 2012

Age-related differences in typical intellectual engagement between young and old adults.

Exp Aging Res 2012 ;38(1):63-86

Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Unlabelled: BACKGROUND/STUDY CONTEXT: Typical intellectual engagement has been postulated as a trait-like construct that can explain interindividual differences in the extent of engaging in cognitively challenging tasks. Although formulated within the framework of cognitive development, the developmental aspects of typical intellectual engagement itself have not been studied yet.

Methods: Three hundred thirty-four participants from the Zurich Longitudinal Study on Cognitive Aging (73 years on average, ranging from 60 to 85) and 468 graduate students (21 years on average, ranging from 18 to 25) were administered a self-rating scale on typical intellectual engagement. Structural equation modeling was used to study differences in factor means, differences in factor variances, and differences in factor covariances between the two groups.

Results: Significant mean-level differences between age groups exhibit both decline and increase in old age. An increase in factor variances was shown in the old. Factor correlations were higher in old age compared to young adults.

Conclusion: Both higher and lower mean levels in the old group imply that typical intellectual engagement is a variable that contributes incremental information compared to well-known measures of basic personality traits. Larger variances in the old imply greater heterogeneity in the old sample, which fits into literature on fan-spread phenomenon. Higher factor covariances in the old imply dedifferentiation of typical intellectual engagement in the old.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0361073X.2012.637007DOI Listing
July 2015

Stability and change in typical intellectual engagement in old age across 5 years.

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 2012 May 14;67(3):309-16. Epub 2011 Sep 14.

Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland.

Objectives: Typical intellectual engagement (TIE) is related to cognitive development across the life span, but the development of TIE itself has not been examined. In the present study, structural change, differential change, absolute change, stability of divergence, and the generality of changes in the 4 TIE-factors abstract thinking, problem solving, reading, and intellectual curiosity across 5 years were examined in older adults.

Method: Data came from the Zurich Longitudinal Study on Cognitive Aging. Two hundred and thirty-three individuals, 73 years on average at first measurement occasion (2005), were reassessed after 5 years. Confirmatory factor analyses and latent change score models were applied.

Results: Factor covariances were equal across time, implying structural stability. Coefficients for differential stability were around .80, implying small significant mean-level changes for problem solving and intellectual curiosity. No changes in divergence emerged. Change correlations between the factors were in the medium to large range.

Discussion: Across 5 years, TIE remained relatively stable on a group level. However, pronounced interindividual differences emerged. Also, although the changes in factors shared a substantial amount of variance, the development of the factors was not completely parallel.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbr101DOI Listing
May 2012

Factorial structure and age-related psychometrics of the MIDUS personality adjective items across the life span.

Psychol Assess 2012 Mar 12;24(1):173-86. Epub 2011 Sep 12.

Institute of Psychogerontology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany.

The present study addresses issues of measurement invariance and comparability of factor parameters of Big Five personality adjective items across age. Data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) survey were used to investigate age-related developmental psychometrics of the MIDUS personality adjective items in 2 large cross-sectional samples (exploratory sample: N = 862; analysis sample: N = 3,000). After having established and replicated a comprehensive 5-factor structure of the measure, increasing levels of measurement invariance were tested across 10 age groups. Results indicate that the measure demonstrates strict measurement invariance in terms of number of factors and factor loadings. Also, we found that factor variances and covariances were equal across age groups. By contrast, a number of age-related factor mean differences emerged. The practical implications of these results are discussed, and future research is suggested.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0025265DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4275817PMC
March 2012

Correlated change in memory complaints and memory performance across 12 years.

Psychol Aging 2011 Dec 4;26(4):884-9. Epub 2011 Apr 4.

Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

The present study examines whether the relationship between memory complaints and memory performance is better assessed by analyzing the mutual development. Five hundred participants, averaging 62.9 years of age at first measurement, were measured three times over 12 years. After establishing partial strong factorial invariance, correlations between levels and between slopes of memory performance and memory complaints were estimated using second-order latent growth curve models. The relationship between slopes was found to be three times larger than the relationship between levels, indicating that assessing the commonality in change is more informative than assessing the relationship at a given time point.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0023156DOI Listing
December 2011

The factorial structure and external validity of the prospective and retrospective memory questionnaire in older adults.

Eur J Ageing 2011 Mar 3;8(1):39-48. Epub 2011 Feb 3.

University of Victoria, Victoria, BC Canada.

The factorial structure of the Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire (PRMQ) was investigated in a sample of 336 older adults (aged 66-81 years). Confirmatory factor analyses showed that a bifactor model of two correlated factors of prospective and retrospective memory problems and two uncorrelated group factors of positively and negatively worded items had the best fit. Such a model can be seen as a multitrait-multi-method model that separates the substantive and methodological components among the items of the PRMQ. Correlations of the four factors with external criteria (affect, neuroticism, prospective, and retrospective memory performance) revealed that the item wording factors mainly correlate with the affect variables, whereas the prospective and retrospective memory problem factors were differentially associated with memory performance. As a conceptual conclusion, these differential correlations give support to the discriminant validity of subjective prospective versus retrospective memory problems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10433-011-0174-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5547305PMC
March 2011

Five views of a secret: does cognition change during middle adulthood?

Eur J Ageing 2010 Sep 25;7(3):135-146. Epub 2010 Aug 25.

Department of Gerontopsychology, Institute of Psychology, University of Zurich, Binzmühlestrasse, 14/Box 24, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland.

This study examined five aspects of change (or stability) in cognitive abilities in middle adulthood across a 12-year period. Data come from the Interdisciplinary Study on Adult Development. The sample consisted of  = 346 adults (43.8 years on average, 48.6% female). In total, 11 cognitive tests were administered to assess fluid and crystallized intelligence, memory, and processing speed. In a first series of analyses, strong measurement invariance was established. Subsequently, structural stability, differential stability, stability of divergence, absolute stability, and the generality of changes were examined. Factor covariances were shown to be equal across time, implying structural stability. Stability coefficients were around .90 for fluid and crystallized intelligence, and speed, indicating high, yet not perfect differential stability. The coefficient for memory was .58. Only in processing speed the variance increased across time, indicating heterogeneity in interindividual development. Significant mean-level changes emerged, with an increase in crystallized intelligence and decline in the other three abilities. A number of correlations among changes in cognitive abilities were significant, implying that cognitive changes in middle adulthood share up to 50 percent of variance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10433-010-0161-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5547356PMC
September 2010

Age differences in the underconfidence-with-practice effect.

Exp Aging Res 2009 Oct;35(4):400-31

Gerontopsychology, Department of Psychology,University of Zurich, Binzmühlestrasse 14/24, Zurich, Switzerland.

In two verbal learning experiments, the authors examined the accuracy of memory monitoring and the underconfidence-with-practice (UWP) effect in younger and older adults. Memory monitoring was operationalized as judgements of learning (JOL). An open issue is whether UWP can also be found in older adults. In the first experiment, both younger and older adults overestimated their memory performance in the first trial, but the older group differed from the young group in the second trial. The JOLs given by older participants matched, on average, their recall performance. In fact, the UWP effect was not observed in any of several conditions in older participants. In the second experiment involving five study-test cycles and two age groups, the same basic pattern of results was present: Older adults did not show an UWP effect. These findings appear to fit into a framework of dual factors affecting JOLs, which posits that the magnitude of JOLs derives both from an anchoring point and from on-line monitoring of items.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03610730903175782DOI Listing
October 2009

Individual differences and reliability of paired associates learning in younger and older adults.

Psychol Aging 2009 Dec;24(4):1001-6

Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

The authors modeled individual nonlinear trajectories of learning using structured latent growth curves based on an exponential function with 3 parameters: initial performance, learning rate, and asymptotic performance. The 3 parameters showed reliable individual differences and the between-parameter correlations indicated that participants with high learning rates recalled more items initially. The asymptotic performance was unrelated to the learning rate and the initial performance. In addition, age and speed of information processing were included in the analyses. Age mainly affected negatively the asymptotic and the initial performance whereas speed of information processing affected the learning rate positively. Reliability estimates based on 2 similar learning conditions were moderate overall.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0016138DOI Listing
December 2009

Verbal learning changes in older adults across 18 months.

Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn 2009 Jul 14;16(4):461-84. Epub 2009 Apr 14.

Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

The major aim of this study was to investigate individual changes in verbal learning across a period of 18 months. Individual differences in verbal learning have largely been neglected in the last years and, even more so, individual differences in change in verbal learning. The sample for this study comes from the Zurich Longitudinal Study on Cognitive Aging (ZULU; Zimprich et al., 2008a) and comprised 336 older adults in the age range of 65-80 years at first measurement occasion. In order to address change in verbal learning we used a latent change model of structured latent growth curves to account for the non-linearity of the verbal learning data. The individual learning trajectories were captured by a hyperbolic function which yielded three psychologically distinct parameters: initial performance, learning rate, and asymptotic performance. We found that average performance increased with respect to initial performance, but not in learning rate or in asymptotic performance. Further, variances and covariances remained stable across both measurement occasions, indicating that the amount of individual differences in the three parameters remained stable, as did the relationships among them. Moreover, older adults differed reliably in their amount of change in initial performance and asymptotic performance. Eventually, changes in asymptotic performance and learning rate were strongly negatively correlated. It thus appears as if change in verbal learning in old age is a constrained process: an increase in total learning capacity implies that it takes longer to learn. Together, these results point to the significance of individual differences in change of verbal learning in the elderly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13825580902785663DOI Listing
July 2009

Factor structure and measurement invariance of the cognitive failures questionnaire across the adult life span.

Assessment 2009 Jun 9;16(2):145-58. Epub 2008 Dec 9.

Gerontopsychology, Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Binzmühlestr. 14/24, CH-8050 Zurich.

The Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ) is designed to assess a person's proneness to committing cognitive slips and errors in the completion of everyday tasks. Although the CFQ is a widely used instrument, its factor structure remains an issue of scientific debate. The present study used data of a representative sample (N = 1,303, 24-83 years of age) from the Maastricht Aging Study (MAAS) to test and compare factor solutions for the CFQ previously reported in the literature by means of confirmatory factor analysis of ordered categorical variables. A three-factor model of the CFQ from an exploratory factor analysis was tested for increasing levels of measurement invariance across six age groups. Factor (co-)variances remained stable across the age groups, mean differences were observed for the factor Forgetfulness with higher means for older participants, and the factor Distractibility where participants older than 60 years of age had lower means.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1073191108324440DOI Listing
June 2009

Long-term correlated change in personality traits in old age.

Psychol Aging 2008 Sep;23(3):545-57

Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

The present study examines long-term correlated change in personality traits in old age across a time period of 12 years. Data from the Interdisciplinary Study on Adult Development were used to investigate different aspects of personality change and stability. The sample consisted of 300 adults ranging from 60 to 64 years of age at Time 1. Personality was measured with the NEO Five-Factor Inventory. Longitudinal structural stability, differential stability, change in interindividual differences, mean-level change, and correlated change of the 5 personality traits were examined utilizing structural equation modeling. After having established strict measurement invariance, factor variances in Openness to Experience and Conscientiousness were found to be different across testing occasions, implying variant covariation patterns over time. Stability coefficients were around .70, indicating high but not perfect differential stability. The amount of interindividual differences increased with respect to Openness to Experience and Conscientiousness. Both mean-level change and stability in personality were observed. Eventually, except for Neuroticism, a number of medium effect-sized correlations among changes in personality traits emerged, implying that personality changes share a substantial amount of commonality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0013239DOI Listing
September 2008

Age differences in five personality domains across the life span.

Dev Psychol 2008 May;44(3):758-70

Department of Psychology, Gerontopsychology, University of Zurich, Binzmühlestrasse 14/24, Zurich, Switzerland.

The present study addresses the issue of age differences in 5 personality domains across the life span in a cross-sectional study. In contrast to most previous studies, the present study follows a methodologically more rigorous approach to warrant that age-related differences in personality structure and mean level can be meaningfully compared. It uses data on 50 items of the Five-Factor Personality Inventory (FFPI) available from a study in a large and representative Dutch sample (N = 2,494; age range: 16 to 91 years) conducted in 1996 for the purpose of establishing norms for the FFPI. After having established strict measurement invariance, tests were made for factor covariances to be equal across age groups, revealing structural continuity of personality. Additionally, factor variances were shown to be equal across age groups. A number of age differences in the mean level of the five personality domains emerged. Specifically, older adults were, on average, more agreeable and, especially, more conscientious than middle-aged and younger adults. Findings from our study suggest that both continuity and change may mark personality over the course of life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.44.3.758DOI Listing
May 2008

Typical intellectual engagement and cognition in old age.

Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn 2008 Mar;15(2):208-31

Universität Zürich, Psychologisches Institut, Lehrstuhl Gerontopsychologie, Binzmühlestrasse 14/24, CH-8050, Zurich, Switzerland.

Typical Intellectual Engagement (TIE) comprises the preference to engage in cognitively demanding activities and has been proposed as a potential explanatory variable of individual differences in cognitive abilities. Little is known, however, about the factorial structure of TIE, its relations to socio-demographic variables, and its influence on intellectual functioning in old age. In the present study, data of 364 adults (65-81 years) from the Zurich Longitudinal Study on Cognitive Aging (ZULU) were used to investigate the factorial structure of TIE and to examine the hypothesis that TIE is associated more strongly with crystallized intelligence than with fluid intelligence in old age. A measurement model of a second order factor based on a structure of four correlated first order factors (Reading, Problem Solving, Abstract Thinking, and Intellectual Curiosity) evinced an excellent fit. After controlling for age, sex, and formal education, TIE was more strongly associated with crystallized intelligence than with fluid intelligence, comparable to results in younger persons. More detailed analyses showed that this association is mostly defined via Reading and Intellectual Curiosity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13825580701338094DOI Listing
March 2008

Cross-sectional age differences and longitudinal age changes of personality in middle adulthood and old age.

J Pers 2007 Apr;75(2):323-58

Institute of Psychology, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

The present study examines different aspects of personality continuity (or change) in middle adulthood and old age both cross-sectionally and longitudinally. The sample comprised 445 middle-aged (42-46 years) and 420 older (60-64 years) participants, reassessed after a 4-year interval. Personality was measured using the NEO-FFI personality inventory. After having established strict factorial invariance, factor covariances were found to be equal for both age groups and at both testing occasions, indicating perfect structural continuity of personality. A number of age differences in personality emerged at both measurement occasions. Longitudinally, in both age groups, an average decline in Neuroticism was observed. Longitudinal stability coefficients were around .80 in middle-aged and old participants, implying high, but not perfect, differential continuity. With respect to continuity of divergence, statistically significant cross-sectional age differences were found for the variance of Openness at both measurement occasions. Eventually, concerning specific versus general continuity, a variety of medium effect-sized correlated changes in the Big Five personality domains across the 4-year period was established, implying that personality changes share a certain amount of commonality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2006.00441.xDOI Listing
April 2007

Personality, aging self-perceptions, and subjective health: a mediation model.

Int J Aging Hum Dev 2006 ;63(3):241-57

Center for Gerontology, University of Zürich, Switzerland.

Since the global item of subjective health has emerged as a strong predictor of important health outcomes such as mortality, there have been many attempts to uncover its correlates. In this study, we tested whether personality as assessed via the five-factor model of personality predicted subjective health when physician-rated health and depression were controlled for. We analyzed a cohort of 362 German community-dwelling 60-year-olds from the first wave of the ongoing Interdisciplinary Longitudinal Study on Aging. We found that neuroticism, but none of the other four personality factors, predicted subjective health. However, the association between neuroticism and subjective health was mediated by aging self-stereotypes (attitudes toward oneself as an aging person), which in recent studies have been shown to influence older individuals' health behaviors and functional health. The results indicate that those high in neuroticism tend to have more negative aging self-stereotypes; these aging self-stereotypes, in turn, seem to affect how those individuals globally perceive their own health. Unlike many predictors of subjective health, such as age, gender, socio-cultural differences, actual health, or personality traits, negative attitudes about one's own aging may be modified through adequate intervention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2190/AKRY-UM4K-PB1V-PBHFDOI Listing
February 2007
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