This study examined age-related differences between young and older adults in the involvement of verbal and visuo-spatial components of working memory (WM) when paths are learned from verbal and visuo-spatial inputs. A sample of 60 young adults (20–30 years old) and 58 older adults (60–75 years old) learned two paths from the person's point of view, one displayed in the form of a video showing the path, the other presenting the path in a verbal description. During the learning phase, participants concurrently performed a verbal task (articulatory suppression, AS group), or a visuo-spatial task (spatial tapping, ST group), or no secondary task (control, C group). After learning each path, participants completed tasks that involved the following: (1) recalling the sequential order and the location of landmarks; and (2) judging spatial sentences as true or false (verification test). The results showed that young adults outperformed older adults in all recall tasks. In both age groups performance in all types of task was worse in the AS and ST groups than in the C group, irrespective of the type of input. Overall, these findings suggest that verbal and visuo-spatial components of WM underpin the processing of environmental information in both young and older adults. The results are discussed in terms of age-related differences and according to the spatial cognition framework.

Environment learning using descriptions or navigation: The involvement of working memory in young and older adults

Meneghetti C.;Borella E.;Carbone E.;Martinelli M.;De Beni R.
2016

Abstract

This study examined age-related differences between young and older adults in the involvement of verbal and visuo-spatial components of working memory (WM) when paths are learned from verbal and visuo-spatial inputs. A sample of 60 young adults (20–30 years old) and 58 older adults (60–75 years old) learned two paths from the person's point of view, one displayed in the form of a video showing the path, the other presenting the path in a verbal description. During the learning phase, participants concurrently performed a verbal task (articulatory suppression, AS group), or a visuo-spatial task (spatial tapping, ST group), or no secondary task (control, C group). After learning each path, participants completed tasks that involved the following: (1) recalling the sequential order and the location of landmarks; and (2) judging spatial sentences as true or false (verification test). The results showed that young adults outperformed older adults in all recall tasks. In both age groups performance in all types of task was worse in the AS and ST groups than in the C group, irrespective of the type of input. Overall, these findings suggest that verbal and visuo-spatial components of WM underpin the processing of environmental information in both young and older adults. The results are discussed in terms of age-related differences and according to the spatial cognition framework.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3194492
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