Objective The current analyses examined the impact of daily memory lapses on daily affect and whether this impact varied across age. Method One hundred sixty-six adults (ages 20-79) completed assessments of memory lapses and affect each day for 7 consecutive days. Assessments included retrospective and prospective memory lapses as well as the impact of these lapses (how irritating, interfering, and consequential). Affect was assessed using ratings of daily positive and negative affect. Results Participants reported memory lapses on 33.3% of days. Prospective lapses were consistently rated as more consequential. Regardless of age, participants had significantly lower in positive affect and significantly higher in negative affect on days with a prospective lapse. Effects of retrospective lapses depended on age: compared to older adults, younger adults reported lower positive affect on days with a retrospective lapse. Discussion Previous work on daily memory lapses has focused on prospective lapses. Although retrospective lapses occurred more frequently in this sample, prospective lapses appeared to have a greater impact on daily experiences regardless of age. By measuring daily memory lapses and affect over consecutive days, we can begin to understand how the experience of forgetting impacts individuals at a micro-level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-68
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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