Improving memory for conversations in aging and its impact on relationships.

   School of Psychology

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  Dr K Schnitzspahn, Dr D Ray  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

First research (Ray et. al, 2019) suggests that our ability to remember information about other people (i.e. interpersonal memory) has an impact on our relationships with them. In particular, forgetting conversations and past interactions with others can reduce their perceived closeness and importance of the relationship. This impact of memory abilities on social relationships may be especially critical in older adults, as aging is accompanied by cognitive decline (Schnitzspahn et al., 2013). To date, there are no studies examining age differences in interpersonal memory. The first goal of the present project is therefore to determine interpersonal memory in young and older adults. The second goal is to test cognitive flexibility in different age groups by evaluating the effectiveness of different memory strategies on interpersonal memory in young and older adults. Using an experimental approach, we aim to understand which strategies work best in the respective age groups, under which conditions and to which extent. Besides strategy effects on interpersonal memory, the project will also assess how memory performance is associated with perceived social importance and closeness as well as confidence to engage in social interactions.  

Psychology (31)

Funding Notes

This PhD project has no funding attached and is therefore available to students (UK/International) who are able to seek their own funding or sponsorship. Supervisors will not be able to respond to requests to source funding.
• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form
When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:


Ray, D. G., Gomillion, S., Pintea, A. I., & Hamlin, I. (2019). On being forgotten: Memory and forgetting serve as signals of interpersonal importance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 116(2), 259.
Schnitzspahn, K. M., Stahl, C., Zeintl, M., Kaller, C. P., & Kliegel, M. (2013). The role of shifting updating and inhibition in prospective memory performance in young and older adults. Developmental Psychology, 49, 1544-1553.

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