Age Differences in Remembering "What" and "Where": A Comparison of Spatial Working Memory and Metacognition in Older and Younger Adults.
Abstract: Spatial memory involves remembering which object (identity) resides
in which location. We examined memory for these elements individually and in combination.
In Experiment 1, participants attended to either specific object identities, object
locations, or both. When participants attended to specific grid information, location
memory stayed constant with increasing array size, although ... read moreyounger adults were more
accurate than older adults. Moreover, identity and identity-location combination
performance decreased with increasing array size. In addition, older adults were impaired
in their metacognitive monitoring compared to younger adults, especially for location
information. In Experiment 2, participants did not know which information would be tested,
thus the ability to use strategic processing was eliminated. When participants were unaware
of to-be-tested material, both older and younger adults' performed similarly: Identity and
combination accuracy decreased as array size increased, while location memory showed less
impact of increasing items to remember. Moreover, older adults were able to use task
difficulty cues to improve metacognitive accuracy when not strategically processing.
Lastly, in Experiment 3, we examined the basis for poor combination trial performance. We
found feature-binding failures constituted most of both age groups' combination errors;
however, older adults' identity memory also contributed to their poor performance. Taken
together, these results demonstrate age differences in identity and combination memory, as
well as metacognitive monitoring, arising from encoding strategies. They also suggest
location as a less effortful process compared to identity and combined
Thesis (M.S.)--Tufts University, 2011.
Submitted to the Dept. of Psychology.
Advisors: Ayanna Thomas, and Holly Taylor.
Committee: Ayanna Thomas, Holly Taylor, and Brandon Ally.
Keyword: Cognitive Psychology.read less