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Ch 12 Lec 10.docx

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PSYC 325
Mario Liotti

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 adults - 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 processing - 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 participants were good at identifying the matching face. Thus: similar performance of older and younger adults in a recognition task  However, when recall tests are used to evaluate episodic memory, older adults typically have deficits relative to younger adults. In general starting age 40, adults tend to do progressively worse at recall than those younger. o Dunlosky and Hertzog (1998)  Asked older and younger adults to study unrelated word pairs (cat-fork). Participants studied the items until all participants had mastered the items. This took a bit longer for the older subjects. Later when they returned for a recall test, the younger remembered more of the target words than did the older. Even though all participants had learned all of the associations during the initial learning o Age differences occur in recall but not in recognition because recog is largely based on familiarity. Recall on the other hand may suffer because of more difficult time screening out answers that come to mind. Also in recall person must generate answer, and so slower processing speed will slow them down - Older adults are more susceptible to misleading and deceptive information, and this has a greater effect on their accuracy than on younger adults o Investigators must be careful not to make suggestive statements to their oldest witnesses False Memory in Older Adults - Older adults demonstrate equivalent memory accuracy to younger adults- but only when non-suggestive methods are used - Older adults are more susceptible to a host of memory illusions caused by suggestive statements, misattribution of source, and associative meaning - Suggestibility o Karpel et al (2001)  Showed older and younger subjects a slideshow depicting crime. Later, they were given qustions. Some of the questions had misleading info, such as “di
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