Age related differences in feedback-based associative learning

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Melissa Jayne Blackstone (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
K. Leigh Morrow-Odom

Abstract: Laine and Salmelin (2010) described language as dynamic, constantly changing as new words, expressions, and meanings appear and fade away. As a result, all speakers of a language, regardless of years of language use, must be able to update their lexicons to reflect these changes. Recently, there has been a growing literature exploring processes involved in new word learning across the lifespan suggesting that there are age-related differences on behavioral (Simon & Gluck, 2013) and neurofunctional (Cornelissen et al., 2003) levels. The present investigation explored these changes across decades of life, which, to the researcher’s knowledge, had not yet been done. In a picture-word verification task, the participants learned eight pairings of novel pictures and nonsense words using feedback provided throughout the task. Results revealed significant changes relating several dynamics of the study, including mastery decision time (DT), cumulative accuracy (ACC), and cumulative DT. In addition, the number of consecutive correct answers, as well as the total number of trials completed, revealed meaningful changes across the lifespan. With the following data, researchers were able to determine that there was a difference in decision time and accuracy in feedback-based associative learning across the lifespan. These data may influence programs designed to facilitate healthy cognitive aging in older adults, which would likely have an impact on overall quality of life. It might also benefit researchers developing future treatments of anomia to lessen signs of aphasia in those with the disorder.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
brain aging, learning across lifespan, Novel word learning
Paired-association learning
Cognition -- Age factors

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