And so, over a century ago, William James (1890) anticipated much of what has captured the attention of memory researchers in the ensuing years, particularly those working from the information processing perspective. I use this quote to open my Introduction to Psychological Science lecture on memory development across the lifespan because it alludes to different memory systems and stores, as well as individual and developmental differences in memory processing. In that lecture, questions of which memory processes and stores are most age sensitive are addressed, with the assumption that developmental changes in memory are not necessarily due to chronological age per se, but rather are mediated by a variety of intervening factors that are also age sensitive. This paper describes some of those variables at the general level, and then presents research on memory and aging from the perspective of self-efficacy theory. Emergent research indicates that memory self-efficacy is a powerful predictor of older adults’ memory functioning.

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Copyright © 1996 American Psychological Association. This article first appeared in Psychology Teacher Network 6 (1996), 2-4.

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