Carla Strickland-Hughes (University of the Pacific)
Aging, Self-Regulation, and Cognitive Success

Memory is essential and highly valued by adults of all ages, but normative age-related declines in memory processes are well-documented, leading to anxiety among older adults. At the same time, age-related memory declines are not comparable across all types of memory, are not equivalent for all individuals, and vary dramatically depending on broader social and motivational contexts. Performance is not solely determined by individual skill levels -- according to social cognition theories focused on self-regulation -- but is also influenced by non-ability factors that are personal (e.g., beliefs), behavioral (e.g., effort), and environmental (e.g., feedback). Successful self-regulation involves maximizing one’s performance by responsively adapting task effort to feedback, to performance self-appraisal, and to careful evaluation of task demands. This presentation summarizes my research program targeting self-regulation and cognition, with three leading foci: (1) self-regulatory factors that promote cognitive health, (2) ways to enhance everyday memory through training, and (3) personal beliefs about aging which may limit cognitive success. My work takes an applied approach, focusing on everyday memory and intervention, looking at the practical impact of training and education.