Fink: Picture Superiority effect in prospective memory: Examining the influence of age and attentional load

Picture Superiority effect in prospective memory: Examining the influence of age and attentional load

A dissertation proposal by Nicole Fink
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
3pm in Brackett Hall 419

Committee:
Dr. Richard Pak, Chair
Dr. Giles Einstein
Dr. Leo Gugerty
Dr. Paul Merritt

Abstract: Numerous studies have demonstrated the existence of the picture superiority effect (i.e. better memory for pictures than words) in retrospective memory, but the examination of the picture superiority effect in prospective memory has been severely underrepresented in the literature. Thus, it is the current focus of this paper. Additionally, we examine if there are differences in ongoing task and prospective memory task performance between age groups (old and young) and under different loads of attention (non-divided and divided). We hypothesize that pictures will promote spontaneous retrieval, which will be exhibited by high and stable performance in the picture (not word) conditions across both divided and non-divided attention tasks and equivalent prospective memory performance by younger and older adults in only the picture, not word conditions. Understanding whether or not a picture superiority effect exists in prospective memory has the practical benefit of informing the design of memory aids, and the theoretical benefit of increasing our understanding of whether inherent stimuli distinctiveness (i.e. pictorial distinctiveness) leads to spontaneous retrieval.

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