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The Inner Workings of Working Memory:The Effects of Aging and Language Impairment on Tasks Examining Verbal Working Memory

Hayes, Rebecca A. (2011) The Inner Workings of Working Memory:The Effects of Aging and Language Impairment on Tasks Examining Verbal Working Memory. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh.

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    Abstract

    Wright et al. (2007) tested Persons with Aphasia (PWA) using three N-Back tasks featuring different types of linguistic information - phonological, semantic, and syntactic -- to determine whether Verbal Working Memory (VWM) is a single, united resource. The current study tested three PWA with the same tasks, as well as an additional vision-focused task, to expand on this previous research; two groups of cognitively normal individuals were tested using the same protocol to provide a baseline for comparison. Results from the unimpaired groups indicated no effects of aging, and significant differences in performance across all types of information except phonological and visual cues. Results from PWA were inconclusive. The N-Back task, however, was found to cause misleading patterns in accuracy scores for some tests; sensitivity scores are suggested as a better measure of performance on this testing paradigm.


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    Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmail
    Committee ChairDickey, Michael Walshmdickey@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberHarris Wright, HeatherHeather.Wright.1@asu.edu
    Committee MemberWarren, Tessa Ctessa@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberHula, William Dwdh1@pitt.edu
    Title: The Inner Workings of Working Memory:The Effects of Aging and Language Impairment on Tasks Examining Verbal Working Memory
    Status: Unpublished
    Abstract: Wright et al. (2007) tested Persons with Aphasia (PWA) using three N-Back tasks featuring different types of linguistic information - phonological, semantic, and syntactic -- to determine whether Verbal Working Memory (VWM) is a single, united resource. The current study tested three PWA with the same tasks, as well as an additional vision-focused task, to expand on this previous research; two groups of cognitively normal individuals were tested using the same protocol to provide a baseline for comparison. Results from the unimpaired groups indicated no effects of aging, and significant differences in performance across all types of information except phonological and visual cues. Results from PWA were inconclusive. The N-Back task, however, was found to cause misleading patterns in accuracy scores for some tests; sensitivity scores are suggested as a better measure of performance on this testing paradigm.
    Date: 09 May 2011
    Date Type: Completion
    Defense Date: 11 April 2011
    Approval Date: 09 May 2011
    Submission Date: 22 April 2011
    Access Restriction: No restriction; The work is available for access worldwide immediately.
    Patent pending: No
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
    URN: etd-04222011-092905
    Uncontrolled Keywords: aphasia; modularity; n back; persons with aphasia; verbal working memory; working memory
    Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
    University Honors College
    Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 14:41
    Last Modified: 30 May 2012 13:11
    Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-04222011-092905/, etd-04222011-092905

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