The effects of age and reading ability on visual memory processing
Marrach, M. Alexa
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The present study investigated differences in visual memory processing cunong below and above average readers using a partial and full report backward masking paradigm. Both children and adult subjects were used. Stimulus type and stimulus duration were varied to examine their effect on recall. Recall differences between the reading groups were found for verbal material but not for nonverbal material, suggesting that recall deficits in below average readers have more to do with phonological processing deficits than memory. There was also an age related increase in recall for both verbal and nonverbal material. Recall differences between the reading groups were found under the 50 and 500 msec, durations but not the 1000 msec, duration. This suggests that with more time, below average readers are able to perform like above average readers. There was also an age related increase in recall with duration. All of the groups' recall improved when short-term memory demands were minimized. However, older subjects tended to benefit more than younger subjects, suggesting that the older subjects were able to more efficiently process information in short term memory. In addition, all of the subjects tended to use a left to right and top to bottom scanning strategy, but older subjects tended to use a more systematic cognitive scanning strategy. When nonverbal material was displayed, the proportion of visual errors increased with age, suggesting that the ability to visually encode information increases with age.