ERIC Number: EJ1051103
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 64
Developmental Change in Proactive Interference across the Life Span: Evidence from Two Working Memory Tasks
Loosli, Sandra V.; Rahm, Benjamin; Unterrainer, Josef M.; Weiller, Cornelius; Kaller, Christoph P.
Developmental Psychology, v50 n4 p1060-1072 Apr 2014
Working memory (WM) as the ability to temporarily maintain and manipulate various kinds of information is known to be affected by proactive interference (PI) from previously relevant contents, but studies on developmental changes in the susceptibility to PI are scarce. In the present study, we investigated life span development of item-specific PI. To this end, 92 individuals between the ages of 8 and 74 years completed a recent-probes task and an n-back task that both composed experimental manipulations of PI. Regarding global WM development, young adults had higher WM performance than children and older adults in both tasks. Significant PI × Age interactions revealed that susceptibility to PI changed over the life span in both tasks, whereas the developmental course of PI differed between the tasks: Children committed more PI-related errors than young adults in the recent-probes task but showed marginally less PI in the n-back task. Regarding reaction time costs, children did not differ from adults in the recent-probes task and were less affected than adults in the n-back. Older adults showed more PI-related errors than young adults in both tasks. Therefore, as expected, item-specific PI changed over the life span with the young adults being less susceptible to PI than children and older adults. The diverging developmental effects of PI across both tasks, especially in the children, are supposed to reflect different causes for the difficulties regarding resisting PI in children and older adults. These might concern differently developed underlying cognitive processes such as inhibition or recollection, or different responses to task demands across both tasks.
Descriptors: Short Term Memory, Older Adults, Task Analysis, Interference (Language), Children, Adolescents, Young Adults, Adults, Age Differences, Error Patterns, Reaction Time, Developmental Stages, Cognitive Ability, Questionnaires, German, Language Tests, Vocabulary Skills, Foreign Countries, Measures (Individuals), Pictorial Stimuli, Correlation, Scores
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Beck Depression Inventory