Purpose. To investigate whether the metric quality of mental spatial representations of the environment changes with aging, by means of mental scanning of locomotor space. Method. Twenty young adults (age 21.1 -30.8) and 20 old adults (age 60.4-76.4) were submitted to a battery of psychometric tests to assess the effects of aging on general cognitive functions and specific visuo-spatial abilities, and to determine which cognitive factors correlated with scanning performance. The mental scanning task followed. Participants firstly had to learn a path comprising six positions by walking and observing these; secondly, they had to use mental imagery to scan from a first to a second position, according to different distances. Results. Aging reduces the validity of the metric information incorporated by mental spatial representations. Attentional and working memory resources, ability to manipulate spatial information and a general factor of abstract visuo-spatial reasoning strongly correlated with scanning performance. Finally, aging seemed to have a selective effect on cognitive functioning. Conclusions. Age differences emerge when demanding storage and processing of information are simultaneously required, as predicted by the Limited Resources view of aged cognition.

Age differences in mental scanning of locomotor maps

IACHINI, Santa;RUGGIERO, Gennaro;
2005

Abstract

Purpose. To investigate whether the metric quality of mental spatial representations of the environment changes with aging, by means of mental scanning of locomotor space. Method. Twenty young adults (age 21.1 -30.8) and 20 old adults (age 60.4-76.4) were submitted to a battery of psychometric tests to assess the effects of aging on general cognitive functions and specific visuo-spatial abilities, and to determine which cognitive factors correlated with scanning performance. The mental scanning task followed. Participants firstly had to learn a path comprising six positions by walking and observing these; secondly, they had to use mental imagery to scan from a first to a second position, according to different distances. Results. Aging reduces the validity of the metric information incorporated by mental spatial representations. Attentional and working memory resources, ability to manipulate spatial information and a general factor of abstract visuo-spatial reasoning strongly correlated with scanning performance. Finally, aging seemed to have a selective effect on cognitive functioning. Conclusions. Age differences emerge when demanding storage and processing of information are simultaneously required, as predicted by the Limited Resources view of aged cognition.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11591/236629
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