Date of Thesis

Spring 2018

Thesis Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Type

Master of Science

Major

Psychology

First Advisor

Andrea R. Halpern

Keywords

auditory imagery; mental imagery; cognitive aging; individual differences

Abstract

Mental imagery, a complex cognitive task that can be conceptualized into separable components, has been seldom studied in older adults. Auditory imagery is a particularly good modality to study throughout the lifespan, given that sounds can be both highly familiar and unfamiliar and that they inherently take place over a period of time. We tested for age differences in each of the four components of auditory imagery: generation, maintenance, inspection, and transformation. Furthermore, we investigated the degree to which certain cognitive measures that vary among individuals, such as musical background, self-reported auditory imagery, and working memory, predict performance differences. Across three tasks, we investigated whether or not there were age and individual differences in the four auditory imagery components. No age group differences were observed in generation and transformation, although musical background and self-reported auditory imagery were significant predictors of some results. Some age differences were found in a musical test of maintenance and inspection, and musical background and self-reported auditory imagery related to some aspects of the results. No age differences were found in a non-musical task of maintenance and inspection. Overall, this research contributes to the knowledge of age differences in cognitively complex tasks.

famDoReMi_Gen_Correct_M.wav (1166 kB)
Sample file in Experiment 1

famDoReMi_P4up_Down_M.wav (1162 kB)
Sample file in Experiment 1

SerialOrder Easy Target1.wav (473 kB)
Sample file in Experiment 2B

SerialOrder Easy Test1-same.wav (473 kB)
Sample file in Experiment 2B

SerialOrder Hard Target1.wav (732 kB)
Sample file in Experiment 2B

SerialOrder Hard Test1-diff.wav (732 kB)
Sample file in Experiment 2B

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