University of Twente Student Theses


The influence of age on visual working memory

Plotz, N. (2022) The influence of age on visual working memory.

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Abstract:It is well known that working memory function declines with age. An explanation for this decline is the inhibitory-deficit hypothesis which states that the deterioration of working memory with age is due to a reduced ability to suppress irrelevant stimuli. While this effect is greatly researched in the elderly (60 years and upwards) it is not well inquired in middle-aged adults (40-60). Therefore, this study evaluated the visual working memory (VWM) of two age groups (a young adult group (18-25) and a middle-aged adult group (40-60)) with a delayed estimation task. To explain VWM function, and hence to be able to pin down the effect of age on VWM in the best way, the discrete capacity (DC) and the limited capacity model (LR) were used. While for the DC model it is assumed that VWM consist of a firm number of slots to store information, for the LR model it is supposed that there is a limited amount of resources available to encode specific features of a stimulus. The study revealed insignificant effects of age which were however partly in line with the inhibitory-deficit hypothesis, leading to inconclusive results. With regard to the explanation of VWM function, the number of stimuli and attention conditions exerted a significant effect on VWM leading to the conclusion that overall results were slightly better explained by the LR model than the DC model.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Unknown organization
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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