Effects of age and contextualized material on working memory span performance

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The present research explores the effects of contextualized material on age-related working memory performance. Two experiments examining younger and older adults are reported. ANOVA results of the first experiment showed age effects in both a standard operation span and a contextual task of parallel structure (air travel task). The second experiment also revealed a significant age effect in a standard operation span task. However, there was no age difference in a contextual task providing additional visual context (rail travel task), mainly due to older adults being unaffected by task type manipulation and younger adults performing worse in the contextual than in the standard task. The present research suggests that contextual task material may not necessarily lead to improved working memory performance in older adults. Several methodological and conceptual conclusions for future research are discussed.

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Journal Article

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