Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 2 November 2005
Vol. 2005, Issue 44, p. pe34
[DOI: 10.1126/sageke.2005.44.pe34]

PERSPECTIVES

Keeping Priorities: The Role of Working Memory and Selective Attention in Cognitive Aging

Jan W. de Fockert

The author is in the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths College, University of London, United Kingdom. E-mail: j.de-fockert{at}gold.ac.uk

http://sageke.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2005/44/pe34

Key Words: cognition • cognitive aging • working memory • selective attention • functional magnetic resonance imaging

Abstract: Cognitive aging is associated with impairments to working memory and top-down control in selective attention, two components of cognitive control associated with the frontal lobes. Recent findings indicate that working memory and selective attention may be interdependent, making a better understanding of their involvement in cognitive aging particularly challenging. A paper in a recent issue of Nature Neuroscience has provided evidence that a reduction in the ability to keep a clear distinction between information to be stored in working memory and information that should be ignored and subsequently suppressed is associated with poor working memory performance. These results are in line with previous evidence for a specific age-related impairment in the ability to separate irrelevant from relevant information and may be able to explain a range of age-related cognitive changes.

Citation: J. W. de Fockert, Keeping Priorities: The Role of Working Memory and Selective Attention in Cognitive Aging. Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ. 2005 (44), pe34 (2005).

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