Models of Visuospatial and Verbal Memory Across the Adult Life Span

Psychol Aging. 2002 Jun;17(2):299-320.


The authors investigated the distinctiveness and interrelationships among visuospatial and verbal memory processes in short-term, working, and long-term memories in 345 adults. Beginning in the 20s, a continuous, regular decline occurs for processing-intensive tasks (e.g., speed of processing, working memory, and long-term memory), whereas verbal knowledge increases across the life span. There is little differentiation in the cognitive architecture of memory across the life span. Visuospatial and verbal working memory are distinct but highly interrelated systems with domain-specific short-term memory subsystems. In contrast to recent neuroimaging data, there is little evidence for dedifferentiation of function at the behavioral level in old compared with young adults. The authors conclude that efforts to connect behavioral and brain data yield a more complete understanding of the aging mind.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory*
  • Mental Processes
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Space Perception*
  • Visual Perception*