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Title of Journal: Cogn Process

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Abbravation: Cognitive Processing

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Springer Berlin Heidelberg

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DOI

10.1016/0014-3057(72)90085-7

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1612-4790

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Age-related differences in pointing accuracy in familiar and unfamiliar environments

Authors: Veronica Muffato, Martina Della Giustina, Chiara Meneghetti, Rossana De Beni,

Publish Date: 2015/07/30
Volume: 16, Issue:1, Pages: 313-317
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Abstract

This study aimed to investigate age-related differences in spatial mental representations of familiar and unfamiliar places. Nineteen young adults (aged 18–23) and 19 older adults (aged 60–74), all living in the same Italian town, completed a set of visuospatial measures and then pointed in the direction of familiar landmarks in their town and in the direction of landmarks in an unknown environment studied on a map. Results showed that older adults were less accurate in the visuospatial tasks and in pointing at landmarks in an unfamiliar environment, but performed as well as the young adults when pointing to familiar places. Pointing performance correlated with visuospatial tests accuracy in both familiar and unfamiliar environments, while only pointing in an unknown environment correlated with visuospatial working memory (VSWM). The spatial representation of well-known places seems to be well preserved in older adults (just as well as in young adults), while it declines for unfamiliar environments. Spatial abilities sustain the mental representations of both familiar and unfamiliar environments, while the support of VSWM resources is only needed for the latter.


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