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Titz, Cora:

Adult age differences in working memory: Two complex memory span experiments
Two complex memory span experiments

In: Gariépy, Quentin; Ménard, Raphael (Hrsg.): Handbook of cognitive aging: Causes, processes and effects New York, N.Y. : Nova Science (2010) , 83-108


Document type
4. Beiträge in Sammelwerken; Sammelband (keine besondere Kategorie)

Alter, Alter Mensch, Arbeitsgedächtnis, Deutschland, Erwachsener, Experiment, Gedächtnis, Leistung, Unterschied

The present chapter addresses age-related differences between younger ( 19-33 years) and older adults (58-80 years) in working memory functioning. In a cross-sectional study theroles of inhibition and general slowing for age-related differences in complex memory spantasks were examined. The same sample of 64 younger and 64 elderly subjects participated intwo experiments with a time lag of 4-6 weeks. In experiment 1, age differences in a readingspan task and in an operation span task were not affected by inhibitory demands, such as (1) the presence or absence of distracting information in the study phase; and (2) high vs. low amounts of previously learned but no longer relevant material. When either age differences ina speed measure or age differences in a measure of the phonological loops' capacity weretaken into account, age differences in complex span scores disappeared. Since tasks wereadministered subject-paced in experiment 1 and elderly adults suffer from a general slowing, they had to retain items longer than younger adults until recall. To examine the impact ofitem retention on performance, a second experiment was scheduled in which long- short itemretention conditions were included and processing time was equated for younger and olderadults. Task processing was more attention demanding due to a segmented task presentationin experiment 2. Performance was worse for long as compared to short retention intervals.Retention intervals did, however, not influence age differences in complex span scores. Agedifferences were greater in experiment 2 than in experiment 1. Older adults' workingmemory functioning seem to be more limited by time (speed and decay), but also by space(capacity of the phonological loop and attentional resources) than those of younger adults. (DIPF/Autor)

Education and Human Development