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Flashcards in Chapter 6 Deck (43)
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Information processing model and 3 assumptions 

  • uses a computer metaphor to explain how people process stimuli
  • Based on 3 assumptions: 

    1) people are active participants in the process

    2) both quantitative and qualitative aspects of performance can be examined

    3) info is processed through a series of processes: 


Sensory memory

  • a brief and almost identical representation of the stimuli that exists in the observable environment 
  • Unless we pay attention, the information will be quickly lost
  • There's no limit to what we can take in
  • Age differences are not found with sensory memory


Speed of processing

  • how quickly and efficiently the steps in information processing are completed
  • Evidence shows that age-related slowing depends on what adults are being asked to do
  • OA are slower in general 
  • The amount of beta-amyloid protein in the CNS is linked to dementia


processing resources

  • refers to the amount of attention one has to apply to a particular situation


Inhibitory loss

is a theory that older have a harder time inhibiting irrelevant information 


Trouble changing and dividing attention


Divided attention 

  • concerns how well people perform multiple tasks simultaneously
  • Driving a car is a classic example as there are so many things to pay attention to


Automatic processing


  • places minimal demands on attentional capacity and gets information into the system largely without us being aware of it
  • Stop at a stop sign after many years of driving is automatic

    Seems like elderly do not suffer a decline in these 


effortful processing

  • requires all of the available attentional capacity
  • Learning words/flashcards
  • Age differences tend to emerge with effortful processing 


Encoding is

  • the process of getting info into the memory system (potential source of age difference)


Storage involves

  • the manner in which information is represented and kept in memory


Retrieval is

  • getting information back out of memory (potential source of age difference)


Working memory is

  1. the active processes and structures involved in holding information in mind and simultaneously using that information sometimes in conjunction with incoming information to solve a problem, make a decision, or learn new information
  2. Umbrella term for many short term skills
  3. Relatively small capacity
  4. Like a juggler who can only balance a few pins at a time
  5. evidence that it declines with age but findings are not universal 



  • is the process that information is held in working memory, either by repeating items over and over or by making meaningful connection between the information in working memory and information already known


Implicit memory AKA procedural memory

  1. AKA procedural memory involves retrieval of information without conscious or intentional recollection
  2. Implicit is routine-based 

    Combing your hair 

  3. OA generally better at it 


Explicit memory AKA declarative memory

  1. AKA declarative memory intentional and conscious remembering of information learned and remembered at a specific point in time


Long-term memory refers to

  1.  the ability to remember rather extensive amounts of information from a few seconds to a few hours to a few decades - broken into two categories:

Semantic memory 

Episodic memory 


Semantic memory

  • concerns learning and remembering the meaning of words and concepts not tied to specific occurrences of events in time
  • Knowing how to build a triad

    Increases from age 35-55 then levels off 

    Starts to decline after 65, but not as much as episodic 

    Based on worldly information 

    But based on use it or lose it 

    Tip of the tongue (TOT) experience is in this category (someone's name)  - is more common with older adults 


Episodic memory concerns 

  • the general class of memory having to do with the conscious recollection of information from a specific event or point in time
  • What did ay do last christmas day
  • Begins to decline after 65

  • OA tend not to use memory strategies as much as younger adults 


Recall test

  • people are asked to remember information without hints or clues (example taking an essay exam without notes)



  • selecting previously learned information from among several items  (multiple choice)


age related declines in memory are related to 2 techiniques related to encoding and retrieval:

poorer encoding and failure to use retrieval strategies 


Tip of the tongue (TOT) experience is in this category (someone's name)  - is more common with older adults 


Encoding and retrieval


  • is anything people do to make the task easier and increase the efficiency of encoding or retrieval
  • Older adults have poorer encoding skills 

    Use fewer retrieval methods - research says that most problems lay in the retrieval process 

    During encoding older adults have over activity in pre-frontal cortex indicating compensatory processes - especially for less extensive work 

    Older adults process different than younger adults representing workarounds or compensation 


Prospective memory involves

  •  remembering to remember something in the future
  • I need to pickup the dry cleaning after work


Event-based tasks

  • are prompted - do something when I do this - if I see the store, I'll know to pick up milk


Time-based are

  • things that need to happen after a certain amount of time, as in 5 hours from now I will pick up the dry cleaning. so prospective memory and these suffer more than time-based; elders are worse at time-based though cues can help...when I pass the dry cleaner, I'll know to pick it up, so I'll take the road that brings me in front of the store


Autobiographical memory 

  • involves remembering information and events from one's own life
  • Tricky as you need an eye witness or video to verify
  • some aspects remain in tact others not
  • more memories from young adulthood are in tact 
  • verifying is diffucult 


Flashbulb memories are 

  • They are often wrong
  • memories for personally traumatic or unexpected events


Source memory refers to

  • the ability to remember the source of a familiar event as well as the ability to determine if the event was imagined or actually happened
  • declines with age 


False Memory

  • remembering items or events that never occurred
  • older adults are more susceptible 


Cognitive reserve i.e. 

  • factors that help preserve memory performance

  • factors that help preserve memory performance
    • Exercise, helps plasticity
    • Is an intervention alt for park, alz, stroke, preventative for other declines
    • Multilingualism
    • 75-95 older who spoke 4 languages showed better cognitive states and even bilingualism helps
    • Use semantic memory to cue episodic memory (find cues from stuff you know about)
    • Negative stereotypes hinder as it's a self-fulfilling prophecy