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Title: Attention and working memory in elderly: the influence of a distracting environment
Authors: Rodrigues, Pedro F. S.
Pandeirada, Josefa N. S.
Keywords: Elderly
Distracting environment
Selective attention
Working memory
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Citation: Rodrigues, P. F. S., & Pandeirada, J. N. S. (2015). Attention and working memory in elderly: the influence of a distracting environment. Cognitive Processing, 16, 97-109. Repositório Institucional UPT.
Abstract: The present work investigated the effect of a distracting environment in the performance of attentional and working memory (WM) tasks in elderly participants. To this end, forty elderly performed two attentional tasks (simple reaction time and go/no-go tasks), and three WM tasks (arithmetic, memory for digits and sequences of letters and numbers). Each participant performed the tasks in a distracting and a non-distracting environment, with an interval of 14-21 days between sessions. The results revealed better performance in the attentional tasks when these were done in the non-distracting environment, as compared to when they were done in the distracting environment. Specifically, participants provided more accurate responses, fewer false alarms and omissions when responding in the non-distracting environment than when responding in the distracting environment. Participants were also faster at providing correct responses in the go/no-go task when it was performed in the non-distracting environment. As for the memory tasks, the effect of type of environment was significant only in the memory for digits in a forward direction task. Our data suggest the need to consider the potential damaging consequences of distracting environments when the elderly have to perform tasks that demand their attention. Specific examples of such situations are presented in the discussion (e.g., distracting effect of environment on medical and on psychological evaluations).
ISSN: 1612-4790 (Online)
1612-4782 (Print)
Appears in Collections:INPP - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais / Papers in International Journals

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