Following Instructions in Working Memory:Do Older Adults Show the Enactment Advantage?

Coats, Rachel O. and Waterman, Amanda H. and Ryder, Fiona and Atkinson, Amy L. and Allen, Richard J. (2021) Following Instructions in Working Memory:Do Older Adults Show the Enactment Advantage? JOURNALS OF GERONTOLOGY SERIES B-PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES, 76 (4). pp. 703-710. ISSN 1079-5014

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Abstract

Objectives In young adults, the ability to verbally recall instructions in working memory is enhanced if the sequences are physically enacted by the participant (self-enactment) or the experimenter (demonstration) during encoding. Here we examine the effects of self-enactment and demonstration at encoding on working memory performance in older and younger adults. Method Fifty young (18–23 years) and 40 older (60–89 years) adults listened to sequences of novel action-object pairs before verbally recalling them in the correct order. There were three different encoding conditions: spoken only, spoken + demonstration, and spoken + self-enactment. We included two different levels of difficulty to investigate whether task complexity moderated the effect of encoding condition and whether this differed between age groups. Results Relative to the spoken only condition, demonstration significantly improved young and older adults’ serial recall performance, but self-enactment only enhanced performance in the young adults, and this boost was smaller than the one gained through demonstration. Discussion Our findings suggest that additional spatial-motoric information is beneficial for older adults when the actions are demonstrated to them, but not when the individual must enact the instructions themselves.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
JOURNALS OF GERONTOLOGY SERIES B-PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200/3207
Subjects:
ID Code:
164471
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
13 Jan 2022 10:04
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
19 Apr 2022 03:28