Previous predictions about an event are often influenced by outcome knowledge of that event. Older adults tend to show more of this hindsight bias effect than younger adults. The present study investigated whether long-term episodic memory and aspects of executive functioning mediated or moderated the relationship between age and hindsight bias. Sixty-four younger adults and 60 healthy, community-living older adults completed a cognitive battery and a memory design hindsight bias task. Older adults showed hindsight bias more often than younger adults. Moreover, poorer long-term episodic memory and inhibition were associated with an increased probability of showing hindsight bias, after controlling for age. Both inhibition and long-term episodic memory independently mediated the age-hindsight bias relationship. Inhibition also moderated this relationship. By identifying the basic mental abilities contributing to age differences in hindsight bias, the present study’s findings extend prior work in the hindsight bias and cognitive aging literatures.
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Thesis advisor: Thornton, Wendy
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