Aging and feature binding in visual working memory: the role of presentation time.

Stephen Rhodes, Mario Parra, Robert Logie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


A large body of research has clearly demonstrated that healthy ageing is accompanied by an associative memory deficit. Older adults exhibit disproportionately poor performance on memory tasks requiring the retention of associations between items (e.g. pairs of unrelated words). In contrast to this robust deficit, older adults’ ability to form and temporarily hold bound representations of an object’s surface features, such as colour and shape, appears to be relatively well preserved. However, the findings of one set of experiments suggest that older adults may struggle to form temporary bound representations in visual working memory when given more time to study objects (Brown & Brockmole, 2010). However, those findings were based on between participant comparisons across experimental paradigms. The present study directly assesses the role of presentation time in younger and older adults’ ability to bind shape and colour in visual working memory using a within participant design. We report new evidence that giving older adults longer to study memory objects does not differentially affect their immediate memory for feature combinations relative to individual features. This is in line with a growing body of research suggesting that there is no age-related impairment in immediate memory for colour-shape binding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • cognitive ageing
  • visual working memory
  • feature binding
  • memory deficit

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