Psychology and Aging
Young and old adults were asked, in 3 experiments, to make decisions about the identity of line segment patterns after either adding or subtracting line segments from the original pattern. On some of the trials, the line segments from the initial display were presented again in the second display to minimize the necessity of remembering early information during the processing of later information. Although this manipulation presumably reduced the importance of memory in the tasks, it had little effect on the magnitude of the age differences in any of the experiments. Because the 2 groups were equivalent in accuracy of simple recognition judgments, but older adults were less accurate when the same types of decisions were required in the context of an ongoing task, the results suggested that older adults may be impaired in the ability to retain information while simultaneously processing the same or other information.
Salthouse, Timothy A.; Mitchell, Deborah; and Reiter-Palmon, Roni, "Memory and Age Differences in Spatial Manipulation Ability" (1989). Psychology Faculty Publications. 68.