Effects of Age on the Temporal Organization of Working Memory in Deaf Signers

Autor/a: RUDNER, Mary; DAVIDSSON, Lena; RONNBERG, Jerker
Año: 2010
Editorial: Aging Neuropsychology and Cognition. Vol. 17, Nº 3 (2010) pp. 360-383
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Educación » Aspectos psicológicos y cognitivos


Deaf native signers have a general working memory (WM) capacity similar to that of hearing non-signers but are less sensitive to the temporal order of stored items at retrieval. General WM capacity declines with age, but little is known of how cognitive aging affects WM function in deaf signers. We investigated WM function in elderly deaf signers (EDS) and an age-matched comparison group of hearing non-signers (EHN) using a paradigm designed to highlight differences in temporal and spatial processing of item and order information. EDS performed worse than EHN on both item and order recognition using a temporal style of presentation. Reanalysis together with earlier data showed that with the temporal style of presentation, order recognition performance for EDS was also lower than for young adult deaf signers. Older participants responded more slowly than younger participants. These findings suggest that apart from age-related slowing irrespective of sensory and language status, there is an age-related difference specific to deaf signers in the ability to retain order information in WM when temporal processing demands are high. This may be due to neural reorganisation arising from sign language use. Concurrent spatial information with the Mixed style of presentation resulted in enhanced order processing for all groups, suggesting that concurrent temporal and spatial cues may enhance learning for both deaf and hearing groups. These findings support and extend the WM model for Ease of Language Understanding.