Aging and everyday memory: The beneficial effect of memory training

Elena Cavallini, Adriano Pagnin, Tomaso Vecchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The authors investigated elderly people's ability to benefit from specific memory training. Empirical evidence of cognitive aging shows a deterioration in working memory ability but also suggests that elderly people maintain the ability to acquire new information and strategies. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of two different mnemonic strategies (Loci mnemonic vs. Strategic training) in young and older adults and to evaluate the ability of the older groups to improve performance. Participants received extensive practice in the use of a specific strategy. Three groups of participants (20 adult, 20 younger elderly, and 20 older elderly) were tested in the laboratory, as well as in ecological conditions using a battery of cognitive tests. Questionnaires were also administrated to explore cognitive, metacognitive and emotive motivational aspects of working memory performance. The results show the efficacy of both trainings in improving performances in different tasks, particularly the ecological. The elderly benefit from strategies as much as younger people; nevertheless, the memory performances of the latter are higher. Differences between the two trainings are found only in the task evaluating ability to re-use learnt strategies in other unfamiliar situations. Improvement in performance was more pronounced for the strategic training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-257
Number of pages17
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003

Keywords

  • Cognitive aging
  • Memory training
  • Mnemonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Medicine(all)

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