Passive storage versus active processing in working memory: Evidence from age-related variations in performance

Vecchi, Tomaso; Richardson, John T. E. and Cavallini, Elena (2005). Passive storage versus active processing in working memory: Evidence from age-related variations in performance. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 17(4) pp. 521–539.

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09541440440000140

Abstract

In a passive task participants recall material in the format in which it was presented, whereas in an active task they transform or manipulate the material. Experiment 1 describes an active visuo-spatial task that is vulnerable to the effects of ageing, and Experiment 2 shows that it is more sensitive to the effects of ageing than a passive task carried out concurrently using the same material. In Experiment 3, similar results were obtained using active and passive verbal tasks carried out concurrently using the same material. Finally, these findings were replicated in Experiment 4 using active and passive verbal and visuo-spatial tasks that were carried out in separate experimental conditions. It is concluded that effects of ageing show an earlier onset in tasks requiring active processing than in tasks requiring the passive storage of information.

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