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  E. Scratching the Surface of Age-Related Memory Research

Narrator: This is Science Today. Memory research conducted at the University of California, Santa Cruz has found that older adults tend to ‘accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative' in their memories more than younger adults. Mara Mather, who led the study, says people are often surprised by how malleable memory is, but researchers are just begun to scratch the surface – especially when it comes to age-related changes that seem to influence decision making.

Mather: In the past, researchers have very much had the idea that age is a time of decline and so almost any age difference that you see is interpreted as, “there must be some sort of decline in the brain that's leading to this change.” Whereas, there seems to be some changes related to age that are not about decline so much as they are about changing goals and different things becoming important. And so, I think it's important for us as scientists not to immediately jump to the conclusion that any age difference is that the older adults are doing worse for some reason.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.