Flashcards in Cognitive ageing Deck (71):
What is short-term memory?
A passive holding area for verbal/visuospatial info
What test do we use to investigate STM storage?
Forward digit span task
How does STM storage change with age?
Craik (1977) - there are small declines in STM storage with age
What is working memory?
A mental workspace for simultaneously holding and manipulating info
What process requires WM?
Concurrent storage and reorganisation of material requires WM
There are age differences on tasks that require active processing of info in STM (vs. passive storage) (e.g. backward digit span, alpha span task). How do older adults perform on these tasks compared to younger adults?
Craik (1986) – older adults perform worse on these tasks than younger adults
What is the WM capacity like in older adults?
Older adults have reduced WM capacity – there is a reduction in the amount of info they can store and process concurrently
How do older adults perform on tasks that require simultaneous storage and processing of info?
Older adults have problems on tasks requiring simultaneous storage and processing of info, e.g.
- mental arithmetic
- following complex directions
What is procedural memory?
Memory for well-learned skills and procedures
What happens to procedural memory with age?
Procedural memory is generally preserved in healthy ageing
In relation to procedural memory, what are older adults often impaired at?
Older adults are often impaired at acquiring new motor skills
- depends on the complexity of the task though
Breitenstein et al. (1996) compared younger and older adults on 2 tracking tasks (simple and complex). What did they find?
Breitenstein et al. (1996)
Simple tracking task → older adults were less accurate than younger but showed the same rates of improvement
Complex tracking task (mirror-reversed) → older adults were less accurate than younger AND slower to improve
What is implicit memory?
Memory without conscious awareness
How do we measure implicit memory?
What is priming?
The influence of previous experience of a stimulus on later processing of that stimulus
In what types of tasks is priming involved?
- stem completion tasks
- fragment completion tasks
What do pps do in stem completion tasks and what are the typical results?
1. Pps are presented with lists of words, including e.g. “chase”
2. Pps complete word stems with the first word that comes to mind: e.g. ch___
--> pps will be more likely to complete the stem with ‘chase’
Which type of memory is usually more affected by ageing - implicit or explicit?
Light and Singh (1987) compared implicit and explicit memory in younger and older adults. How did they test this and what did they find?
They tested adults' memory with stem completion tasks, e.g.
Implicit: "complete with the first word that comes to mind”
Explicit: “complete with a word from the list you just saw”
--> found no age difference on the implicit test but older adults were impaired when recalling on the explicit test
Some researchers did a meta-anaysis comparing semantic priming effects on younger and older adults' lexical decision skills and pronunciation latency.
Who did this study and what did they find?
Laver and Burke (1993)
--> there were larger effects for older than younger (i.e. older performed worse)
What does Laver and Burke's (1993) study on semantic priming support?
Laver and Burke's (1993) study supports ageing models that claim that older adults have process-specific slowing, rather than general cognitive slowing
What is episodic memory?
Conscious recollection of a previous event/experience
How might researchers test episodic memory?
- recall a list of words
- decide whether a word has appeared before or not (recognition)
Is episodic memory impaired with age?
What are older adults less likely to do, in relation to tasks related to episodic memory?
Older adults are less likely to...
- recall specific details of a story they are told
- recall lists of words/sentences (Light and Singh, 1987)
- remember where and when an event happened
What is the process of remembering where and when an event happened called?
How do older adults perform on tasks that require them to distinguish between different sources of self-generated events?
Older adults may be less able to distinguish between different sources of self-generated events
- e.g. whether they have said something or just thought it
Younger and older adults learnt a list of words for a later recall test
--> older adults recalled less items and were more likely to repeat the same items during the recall test
Who did this study?
Koriat, Ben-Zur and Sheffer (1988)
Older adults are LESS/MORE impaired at remembering whether they have seen something before or not.
Older adults are MORE impaired at remembering whether they have seen something before or not.
What did Cohen and Faulker (1989) find that older adults had difficulty remembering?
Cohen and Faulkner (1989) – older adults have difficulties remembering whether they have performed an action or just imagined it
Older adults have a general problem remembering the source of events/info.
What is this called?
Source amnesia = the inability to remember the source of events/info
Older adults have problems remembering what they have said/done AND also have problems...
...remembering what others have done (especially who did what)
Younger and older adults watched clips of different actors doing different actions.
Who did this study and what actions did the actors do?
Kersten et al. (2008)
Actor A - opens a jar
Actor B - staples papers together
Actor C - puts on headphones
What did Kersten et al. (2008) do in their recognition study?
Kersten et al. (2008) had pps watch clips of different actors performing different actors, then gave them a recognition test. Pps either...
a) saw an actor doing their seen action (old pairing, e.g. Actor A opens a jar)
b) saw an actor doing a different seen action (novel pairing, e.g. Actor A puts on headphones)
Kersten et al. (2008) asked pps "did this Actor perform this action?"
What did Kersten et al. (2008) find in their recognition study?
Older adults had problems distinguishing between old and novel pairings - they were more likely to attribute an action to the wrong actor
Older adults have problems remembering what they have said/done and what others have done.
What does this have implications for?
This has implications for eye-witness testimony
- older adults may be less reliable witnesses
Older adults may be prone to the effect of misleading info?
Who did a study on this?
Mitchell et al. (2003)
What were the stages of Mitchell et al.'s (2003) study on the effect of misleading info?
1. Pps witnessed an event on video (e.g. a burglary)
2. Pps were questioned about the event - some questions contained a 'fact' that didn't actually happen
3. Pps were given a list of statements about the event
What were the pps in Mitchell et al.'s (2003) study on misleading info asked to do?
Pps were asked "where did you encounter this info?"
Pps had to decide if they had seen the info...
a) in the video
b) in the questions
c) neither the video or the questions
d) both the video and the questions
What did Mitchell et al. (2003) find in their study on misleading info?
Older adults were more likely to remember 'seeing' events in the video that had only been suggested to them in the questions
Older adults were less able to attribute info to the correct source
Older adults were less confident in their correct attributions than young adults but more confident in their misattributions
How does age affect different episodic memory tasks?
Some episodic memory tasks are affected by ageing more than others
Craik (1986) claimed that this is because episodic memory tasks differ in the extent to which they provide...
What is 'external support'?
External info or cues that can guide memory processes at encoding/retrieval
How do recognition tests provide external support at retrieval?
Recognition tests provide external support at retrieval because the word is re-presented to the pp (vs. free recall tests)
What does Craik's Theory of Cognitive Ageing propose?
When a task provides a low level of external support, there is more need for self-initiated processing → this demands attentional resources
According to Craik's Theory of Cognitive Ageing, how will older adults perform on tasks that require self-initiated processing?
Older adults have less attentional resources → they will be less able to carry out self-initiated processing → they will perform worse on tasks that require self-initiated processing
What does a supportive task environment do (i.e. environment with external support) and how might it help older adults?
A supportive task environment that helps elaborate encoding/guides retrieval can offset the effects of reduced attentional resources
According to Craik's Theory of Cognitive Ageing, what age differences would be found on...
- implicit memory tasks
- recognition tests
- recall tests
- cued recall tests
- free recall tests
- implicit memory is generally intact in older adults
- age differences are smaller on recognition tests that recall tests
- age differences are smaller on cued recall tests than free recall tests
Who provides evidence that age differences are smaller on recognition tests that recall tests?
White and Cunningham (1982)
Who provides evidence that age differences are smaller on cued recall tests than free recall tests?
Craik et al. (1987)
What is prospective memory?
Remembering intentions (e.g. returning a library book)
What are the stages of prospective memory/remembering an intention?
1. Form the intention to carry out an action later (encode what you need to do and when ← this acts as a retrieval cue/context for the intention)
2. Retrieval interval (retain the intention whilst engaged in other activities)
3. Retrieve intention (when the retrieval cue/context arrives, you must realise that you have something to do → there is a high demand for self-initiated processing at this stage)
4. Initiate and carry out the action
How might researchers study prospective memory?
- field studies
- lab studies
What might researchers do in field studies to measure prospective memory?
Pps can go about their daily lives and try to remember to do something for the experimenter
What might researchers do in lab studies to measure prospective memory?
Pps are occupied with an activity (e.g. a word rating task) and have to make a response (e.g. a key press) when a cue word appears
The cue word arrives and the pp must interrupt their current activity and perform the intention without any explicit reminder
What are time-based prospective memory tasks?
Must perform an action at a particular time
- must remember to check the time periodically during the retention interval
- provides low external support
- has a high demand for self-initiated processing
What are event-based prospective memory tasks?
Must perform an action when a particular external event occurs
- provides an external cue to prompt retrieval
Younger and older adults did a time-based OR event-based general knowledge task (prospective memory task).
Who did this study and what did pps have to do in the time-based 7 event-based tasks?
Einstein et al. (1995)
Time-based: pps had to press ENTER every 10 mins
Event-based: pps had to press ENTER whenever they saw the (cue) word 'president'
What did Einstein et al. (1995) find in their time- and event-based study?
There was little age differences on the event-based task
Both groups found the time-based task more difficult (especially older adults)
Why did older adults perform better on the event-based task than the time-based task in Einstein et al.'s (1995) study?
The event-based task provided an external cue that could offset the effects of impaired self-initiated processing in older adults
What is a pro of Craik's Theory of Cognitive Ageing?
There is evidence from lab studies that prospective memory is consistent with Craik's general theory
- age differences tend to be biggest on memory tasks that make high demands for self-initiated processing
What is a criticism of Craik's Theory of Cognitive Ageing?
They hierarchy needs refining
- not all prospective memory tasks demand self-initiated processing or show an age-related decline
Older adults tend to perform better / as well as younger adults on real word prospective memory tasks. Older adults are more likely to...
Moscovitch (1982) - call the experimenter at the correct time
McBride et al. (2013) - send a postcard to the experimenter on time
Rendell and Thomson (1999) - log the time on a personal organiser
Older adults are often worse than younger adults in the lab (especially on PM tasks that demand high self-initiated processing) BUT older are often better than younger adults on real-world tasks (daily routine, motivation, conscientiousness).
What is this paradox called?
What is semantic memory?
LTM for facts, general knowledge, word meanings, etc.
What happens to semantic memory with age? Who found support for this?
Park et al. (1996) – semantic memory is generally preserved/enhanced in healthy ageing
What 'state' do older adults experience more often than younger adults?
Older adults experience more 'tip-of-the-tongue' states than younger adults
What is 'tip of the tongue'?
A temporary inability to retrieve a known word
What type of information do older adults find particularly difficult to remember?
Older adults find names particularly difficult to remember
What study supports the idea that older adults find names particularly hard to remember and that older adults experience more tip of the tongue states?
Maylor (1990) – 50-70 y/o were shown famous faces and given 50 seconds to name them
--> with age, ToT frequency increased and the no. of correct answers decreased