Cultural differences in rated typicality and perceived causes of memory changes in adulthood

Sara Bottiroli, Elena Cavallini, Maria Chiara Fastame, Christopher Hertzog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined cultural differences in stereotypes and attributions regarding aging and memory. Two subcultures belonging to the same country, Italy, were compared on general beliefs about memory. Sardinians live longer than other areas of Italy, which is a publically shared fact that informs stereotypes about that subculture. An innovative instrument evaluating simultaneously aging stereotypes and attributions about memory and memory change in adulthood was administered to 52 Sardinian participants and 52 Milanese individuals divided into three age groups: young (20-30), young-old (60-70), and old-old (71-85) adults. Both Milanese and Sardinians reported that memory decline across the life span is more typical than a pattern of stability or improvement. However, Sardinians viewed stability and improvement in memory as more typical than did the Milanese. Interestingly, cultural differences emerged in attributions about memory improvement. Although all Sardinian age groups rated nutrition and heredity as relevant causes in determining the memory decline, Sardinians' rated typicality of life-span memory improvement correlated strongly with causal attributions to a wide number of factors, including nutrition and heredity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-281
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • Aging stereotypes
  • Cultural differences
  • Memory attributions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Health(social science)
  • Gerontology


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