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Title: Memory performance and adaptive strategies in younger and older adults during single and dual task conditions
Author: Collin, Victoria Grace
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 4043
Awarding Body: University of Greenwich
Current Institution: University of Greenwich
Date of Award: 2015
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Previous research has shown that the aging process is typically accompanied by a decline in a range of cognitive functions, including memory and attention. It has been hypothesised that older adults have reduced cognitive resources, which makes engaging in deeper encoding strategies difficult. However, training older adults in using encoding strategies has been shown to successfully improve their performance. Whether these benefits are apparent when performing more than one task at a time is less known. Owing to the demanding nature of dual tasks, older adults may be more penalised when using an effortful encoding strategy resulting in greater secondary task costs. Four studies were designed to determine whether encoding strategies (such as imagery/association) have the potential to enhance memory performance in young and older adults in single and dual task conditions. Participants were asked to encode a list of words on their own and also when undertaking a concurrent auditory discrimination task. Study 2 and 3 also examined age-differences in strategy selection and execution by ascertaining which strategies were adopted when participants were free to choose and when asked to use a specific strategy. Study 4 looked at whether the trained strategies could be transferred to an untrained working memory task. Overall the results revealed that training younger and older adults in encoding strategies can enhance memory performance in single and dual task conditions. However, this was not a consistent finding in all studies. Importantly older adults’ increase in performance in the dual tasks did not come at a cost to the secondary task. Results indicated that older and younger adults rely on different strategies to improve performance in single tasks, emphasising the importance to teach a variety of memory strategies and allowing participants to choose. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.
Supervisor: Patchay, Sandhiran ; Thompson, Trevor Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology