University of Twente Student Theses


The effect of age on visual working memory

Iliadis, Ioana (2020) The effect of age on visual working memory.

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Abstract:The inhibitory-deficit hypothesis propose that recall abilities decline throughout the ageing process due to a decline in suppressing irrelevant information. Consequently, elderly people performed worse in visual working memory (VWM) tasks compared to young adults. Yet, it is not clear whether one can notice the difference between young adults and elderly people only. Since the implication of age is unclear, the presented study aimed to bring new insight if age affects VWM function for middle-aged people in comparison to young adults. VWM function is so far best explained by the limited resource (LR) model, which suggests that a certain amount of resources is available to encode specific features of an object. To answer the question, whether and how age affects VWM function, a delayed-estimated task was used to test the precision of recall ability for both groups (middle-aged group vs. young-adult group). Prior, a task that controlled for individual difference in perception of color and orientation was implemented. Therefore, results cannot be ascribed to changes in perception. Results of a four-way mixed ANOVA design showed that the interaction of age and attention condition (divided vs. focus attention condition) affects VWM function. More precisely results revealed that age affects to focus attention condition. Thus, middle-aged participant performed worse within the focus attention condition. This outcome is in line with the inhibitory-deficit hypothesis and electroencephalography studies. Nonetheless, results of these studies were conducted by testing elderly people instead of middle-aged people. Therefore, more research is needed to replicate the influence of age. Thereby, it is advisable to create a third age group (elderly group) to examine the effect of age in more detail. To conclude, a combination of the LR model and the inhibitory-deficit hypothesis can best explain the effect of age on VWM function.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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