Date of Thesis



Older and younger adults differ in the ways that they encode information as the brain becomes generally less efficient with aging. In order to compensate for these deficiencies, older adults begin to employ compensatory mechanisms that help them remember new information. In the current study, older and younger adults listened to a series of piano melodies and were asked to decode, or recognize, the emotion in each tune as well as judge whether the tune was previously heard or not on an incidental memory task. Results indicated that older and younger adults did not differ significantly on the decoding task, but did significantly differ on memory (p < .05 level) although there was no interaction between age and valence of the tunes. A higher correlation was observed between decode score and memory for the older adults (r = .66) compared to the younger adults (r = .33), which may suggest that older adults use the decode cue more preferentially than the younger adults as one way to remember tunes on the memory task.


cognitive aging, memory, older adults, individual differences, emotion

Access Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Andrea Rita Halpern