Aging and memory for self-performed tasks: effects of task difficulty and time pressure.
After they performed each of a series of activities, older and younger adults were asked to rate the difficulty of the activity. Recall of the activities was later tested. Older adults tended to remember those activities they perceived to be less difficult, whereas younger adults tended to remember those activities they perceived to be more difficult. Thus, when more cognitive effort was required to perform an activity, older adults tended to have difficulty later remembering the activity. Difficult activities are hypothesized to tax limited processing resources and induce anxiety in older adults, preventing successful encoding.