Encoding and interference effects on visual working memory binding in young and older adults



This research will provide insight into the effects of ageing on visual short-term (working) memory and, more specifically, the ability to encode and maintain associations (bindings) between the related features that comprise whole objects. The research will establish whether or not there is an age-related propensity to confuse temporary associations in memory, and will investigate the processes that may lead to such binding decrements. In everyday life, an age-related binding deficit might be manifest in a number of ways, such as in an increased likelihood with age to confuse the names and faces of people to whom one has just been introduced, or to forget whether the white round pill or the yellow oval pill had just been taken. Three experiments will address whether or not: 1) the presentation time of to-be-remembered items influences binding efficacy in older adults 2) older adults exhibit the same serial position effects, or 'overwriting' of bound representations in memory that has previously been observed in young adults; and 3) older adults are less able than young adults to inhibit irrelevant items from working memory. Together, these experiments will provide insight into the cognitive abilities that are preserved or impaired with the ageing process.

Experimental methods were employed and are discussed in detail in the attached file "Dataset Descriptions". In each experiment the data of young (18-30 years) and older (approximately 65-85) are included. There are 24 participants in the pilot experiment and 48 participants in each of the three main experiments.

Data held at the UK Data Service
Date made available2015
PublisherUK Data Service
Temporal coverage1 Dec 2011 - 30 Sept 2012

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