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Updating working memory: memory load matters with aging

Abstract

Age-related effects in working memory updating were investigated by administering a response time-based task to three adult age groups (young, young-old, and old-old). The task differentiated objects to update; participants were asked to update single memory contents or content-context bindings. The data showed an overall delay of response latencies in the elderly groups (both young-old and old-old), relative to the younger. Specifically, each age group showed longer latencies for content-context binding updating, than single memory content updating. However, an interaction with age was obtained when memory load was manipulated across content-context binding updating conditions. These results were taken as evidence of differences between specific objects of updating and age-related changes in cognition and were discussed with reference to the relevant aging literature.

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Acknowledgments

We wish to thank Paola Lacchini and Divina Regina for their help in data collection.

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Correspondence to Caterina Artuso.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Artuso, C., Cavallini, E., Bottiroli, S. et al. Updating working memory: memory load matters with aging. Aging Clin Exp Res 29, 371–377 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40520-016-0581-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40520-016-0581-y

Keywords

  • Memory content
  • Short-term memory
  • Working memory
  • Updating
  • Memory load
  • Content-context binding