Education does not protect against age-related decline of switching focal attention in working memory

P.W.M. van Gerven, W.A. Meijer, J. Jolles

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17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this experimental study, effects of age and education on switching focal attention in working memory were investigated among 44 young (20-30 years) and 40 middle-aged individuals (50 60 years). To this end, a numeric n-back task comprising two lag conditions (land 2-back) was administered within groups. The results revealed a comparable increase of reaction time as a function of lag across age groups, but a disproportionate decrease of accuracy in the middle-aged relative to the young group. The latter effect did not interact with education, which challenges the cognitive reserve hypothesis. Moreover, the high-educated middle-aged participants showed a greater increase of reaction time as a function of lag than their low-educated counterparts. Apparently, they were not able to sustain their relatively high response speed across conditions. These results suggest that education does not protect against age-related decline of switching focal attention in working memory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-163
JournalBrain and Cognition
Volume64
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

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