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PSYC 325 Study Guide - Metamemory, Ibm Officevision, Working Memory

Course Code
PSYC 325
Mario Liotti

of 8
Ch 12 Lec 10
Memory in old age
- Most adults think that they are more forgetful than younger people
- Declines with age:
o Working memory, encoding into retrieval from episodic memory, source
monitoring, prospective memory
- Constant or improvements:
o Implicit memory, metamemory, lexical knowledge, semantic memory
Theories of Aging and Memory
- Processing Speed
o Age-related declines are caused because the person’s cognitive processing does not
work as quickly as those of younger adults. Therefore it will take longer for older
people to learn new information or retrieve stored info from memory
o Salthouse (1996) asked younger and odler adults to make perceptual comparisons
as fast as possible. These involved deciding whether two letter in different fonts are
the same or whether two pictures are the same. The participants were asked to
make the judgements as fast as possible. When RT was examined, there was a
consistent advantage for younger adults over older adults. The older adults who
were faster at the perceptual comparison tasks also did better in WM and EP tasks
o Older adults take longer on lexical decision tasks
o Older adults have more difficulty recognizing melodies when they are played at a
fast tempo than when they are played at a slower tempo compared to younger
- Inhibition Theory
o Older adults do not have a good ability to block out irrelevant stimulation. So
memory declines seen with age are a consequence of poor attentional processes.
Inhibition also means the ability to suppress the retrieval of irrelevant information
o Directed forgetting studies
Participants are asked to remember some info but are explicitly told to
forget other info. Younger adults are better able to inhibit to-be-forgotten
words than older adults. The adults will ironically have better recall of the
to-be-forgotten items (Andres et al, 2004)
o Darowski et al (2008)
Asked younger and older subjects to read short texts. Some contained
irrelevant and distracting words embedded in otherwise meaningful
sentences. Older adults were impaired only for sentences with distractions,
they had longer reading times and less memory for information in passages
- Decline in the Strategic Use of Memory
o Declining to use appropriate memory strategies. Navah-Benjamin et al (2007) found
older adults used less chinking than younger in WM task- linked with relative
impairment in the frontal lobe
o Craik et al claimed that when left on their own they self-initiate less strategies
o This view is discredited
o Studies show that while there are domains where adults show decreased
metamemory, in general they have a high functioning metamemory and judgements
- The best explanation is probably a combo of reduced inhibition and processing speed
Age related changes in WM
- Some have argued that deficits in WM also lead to deficits in LTM
- WM review: phonological loop- audio, visuospatial sketchpad- visual, central executive-
allocates attentional resources with increased task difficulty or a need for simultaneous
- Central Executive system seems to be the most negatively affected with age, and the other
two left unaffected (ex. Digit span the same)
- dual processing tasks an issue
o Gothe et al (2007)
Compared younger and older adults in two tasks. One was a visuomotor
task where subjects mentally tracked the location of an arrow as it moved
to various marked locations on a screen, when it reached a certain location,
the subjects were to press the space bar. This is a simple attention task.
Both older and younger adults were tested and did well and performed it at
criterion level, but younger adults were faster at learning it. The second task
was a simple numerical task. Add a number to a preexisting sum every time
they heard a tone. Certain tones associated with certain numbers (high
pitch 8, low pitch 5).This task employs phonologica loop as they had to
maintain sums in their head without writing them. Again easy but
attentionally demanding task. Both learned this task with equal ease, but
younger adults were faster in performing the task, consistent with general
advantage in processing speed.Once the task had been learned, there were
no performance differences between them.
A second group of subjects both old and young were asked to learn the
tasks simultaneously and then perform them simultaneously. After much
practice. The younger adults were able to learn the task and to perform
them without any costs in speed at either task. However not one of the
older adults could reach this level of performance. The demands on the
central executive were too great. They were at a huge disadvantage when
the tasks were required to be completed together. They could only
complete the study by alternating one task to the other.
Implications :
Younger adults are better at multi-tasking than older adults.
Older adults should avoid multi-tasking. When they need to learn
something, they can do as well as younger adults as long as they do not
divide attention.
Advise mature drivers not to talk and drive
Semantic Memory and Lexical Memory
- Aging has little effect on semantic memory tasks.
- In studies where general knowledge is tested older adults typically outperform younger
adults. There is though the caveat that older adults do report more memory blocks and are
slower in accessing information. But this has more to do with general processing speed
Episodic Memory
- Older adults often complain of declines in episodic memory
o Validated by research on both encoding and retrieval
- Recall vs Recognition
o Recognition indexes familiarity, which is unaffected by aging
o Recall indexes specific recollection of the original event and inhibition of competing
events, both affected by aging.
o Rhodes et al (2008)
Asked both older and younger adults to study pairs of faces with the goal of
being able to recognize that the two faces go together
In each pair, the subject studied a male and female face paired together,
later, they were given a recognition test. The cue was one of the faces and
the test choices were two faces, one of which was the correct answer. Older
adults and younger performed at the same level in this task. Both groups of