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Attentional Selection and Reduced Interference Improve Visual Short-term Memory in Mild Cognitive Impairment

Visual short-term memory (VSTM) is a vital cognitive ability, allowing us to hold online the contents of visual awareness. Healthy older adults have reduced VSTM capacity compared to young adults; however recent evidence suggests that their performance may be improved by the use of a retroactive cue (“retro-cue”). The retro-cue reduces interference from irrelevant items within VSTM. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients have reduced VSTM performance, compared to healthy older adults. Here, we examined whether the use of a retro-cue would increase VSTM capacity in MCI patients. By presenting a retro-cue after a to-be remembered array, we direct attention to the to-be probed location, which reduces interference from other items that are no longer relevant. The present findings suggest that VSTM capacity per se is not compromised in MCI patients, but these patients may be more susceptible to the effects of interference.
Date15 December 2011
CreatorsNewsome, Rachel
ContributorsBarense, Morgan
Source SetsLibrary and Archives Canada ETDs Repository / Centre d'archives des thèses électroniques de Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
Detected LanguageEnglish

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