Mentor: Professor Thapar
It is common knowledge that memory deteriorates with age. The working memory (short-term memory) of older adults is poorer than that of young adults and it is unclear why. Previous research has suggested that reduced memory ability may reflect a reduction in working memory capacity and/or the use of less effective strategies by older adults. This study aims to test these two hypotheses and determine whether older adults merely have insufficient memory storage capacity or whether the differences between working memory in older adults and young adults is due to differences in the cognitive strategies that they use (e.g. phonological rehearsal strategies, semantic-based and imagery-based strategies). This study will also examine the effect of prediction on performance and whether higher or lower confidence ratings impact performance. 20 young adults and 20 older adults will be recruited and tested on a series of working memory tasks. After each task, they will be given a questionnaire and asked to report the strategies they use and their confidence ratings. The results of this study will shed light on the effects of aging on memory performance and help us better understand why memory deteriorates with age.