Younger and older adults listened to segments of television news under one of three conditions: (a) Listen, in which they heard the auditory portion of the segment without its visual track; (b) Listen + Read, in which they listened to the auditory track only while reading along with a written transcript; and (c) Listen + Television, in which they heard the original televised segment complete with audio and visual track. Younger adults, showed better free recall for the spoken information when it was augmented by the written transcript or video track; older adults did not show this benefit of bisensory augmentation. Subjects were also tested on a Daneman and Carpenter (1980) style measure of working memory processing. This measure accounted for virtually all age variance in memory performance in the unaugmented Listen condition. In the Listen + TV condition, however, there was a substantial proportion of age variance in performance which could not be accounted for in terms of working memory processing. Results are discussed in terms of the varying involvement of working memory processing in age differences as a function of input modality.
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