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Age-related differences in visual encoding and response strategies contribute to spatial memory deficits.

Segen, V., Avraamides, M.N., Slattery, T. and Wiener, J.M., 2021. Age-related differences in visual encoding and response strategies contribute to spatial memory deficits. Memory and Cognition, 49, 249-264.

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DOI: 10.3758/s13421-020-01089-3


Successful navigation requires memorising and recognising the locations of objects across different perspectives. Although these abilities rely on hippocampal functioning, which is susceptible to degeneration in older adults, little is known about the effects of ageing on encoding and response strategies that are used to recognise spatial configurations. To investigate this, we asked young and older participants to encode the locations of objects in a virtual room shown as a picture on a computer screen. Participants were then shown a second picture of the same room taken from the same (0°) or a different perspective (45° or 135°) and had to judge whether the objects occupied the same or different locations. Overall, older adults had greater difficulty with the task than younger adults although the introduction of a perspective shift between encoding and testing impaired performance in both age groups. Diffusion modelling revealed that older adults adopted a more conservative response strategy, while the analysis of gaze patterns showed an age-related shift in visual-encoding strategies with older adults attending to more information when memorising the positions of objects in space. Overall, results suggest that ageing is associated with declines in spatial processing abilities, with older individuals shifting towards a more conservative decision style and relying more on encoding target object positions using room-based cues compared to younger adults, who focus more on encoding the spatial relationships among object clusters.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article ( contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. This forms part of the integrated thesis of Vladislava Segen.
Uncontrolled Keywords:Aging ; Decision making ; Eye movements ; Perception ; Spatial cognition
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:34519
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:08 Sep 2020 14:46
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:24


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