Astrid Emilie Lund

Thesis title:

The impact of beliefs about memory ability on cognitive skill and lived experience in older adults


More than 50% of those over 70 years of age worry about memory loss. This worry has a negative effect on mental health and can even impact memory accuracy. Here I propose to carefully investigate the factors underlying fear of dementia and cognitive decline and look at how that affects older people’s life experiences.

Although there is evidence that as people age they have a higher degree of false beliefs about their memory and heightened concern about whether their memory is accurate, there has been no systematic study examining the life experiences this will affect and how this impacts on cognitive skills. Here I will investigate how knowledge about memory accuracy and how the associated beliefs affect the lives of older adults. I will focus on mental health and quality of life as previous research has shown that these are influenced by beliefs about memory ability. I will investigate whether social behaviour is influenced by memory beliefs, as social interaction has proven to be one of the most important protective mechanisms of memory loss. These factors are important both for society but also for the individual.

The project will provide a better understanding of how knowledge and beliefs about memory influence lived experience and it will give valuable information on how to improve the lives of older adults.

First supervisor:

Charlotte Russell


2 – Life Course, Psychology, & Health