Effects of increased processing demands on age differences in working memory.

R. L. Babcock, T. A. Salthouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Scopus citations


Three studies investigated (a) the plausibility of the claim that increasing the processing demands in a memory task contributes to greater involvement of a central processor and (b) the effects of altering reliance on the central processor on the magnitude of age-related differences in working-memory tasks. In the first study, young adults performed versions of 2 tasks presumed to vary in the degree of reliance on the central processor. In the second and third studies, young and older adults performed versions of a computation-span task that were assumed to vary along a rough continuum of the amount of required processing. The results indicated that although a central processor appears to be involved when working-memory tasks require simultaneous storage and processing of information, age-related differences in working memory seem to be determined at least as much by differences in the capacity of storage as by differences in the efficiency of processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-428
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology and aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990


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