The experiments proposed in this application build upon and extend research initiated under a previous grant aimed at developing and testing empirically derived neural network models of aging. The major aim is to specify the mechanisms that account for age-related differences in practice-related improvements in learning and skilled performance. Our focus is on the description of age-related inter-individual differences in learning and skill acquisition in terms of the efficiency of a memory-based learning mechanism and the efficiency of computing algorithmic solutions. That is, which mechanism of learning are degraded and which mechanisms of skilled performance are preserved across the adult life-span? During the four years of this project, about 400 women and men between the ages of 20 and 70 years will be tested in four experiments, to examine session-by-session changes in the speed, variability, and accuracy of performance, as well as changes in the shape of the distributions of response times. Analyses of age-related individual differences along these measures across multiple practice sessions are expected to reveal shifts from algorithmic computation to memory based processing.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Application #
Study Section
Human Development and Aging Subcommittee 3 (HUD)
Program Officer
Elias, Jeffrey W
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Syracuse University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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K?l?รง, Asl?; Hoyer, William J; Howard, Marc W (2013) Effects of spacing of item repetitions in continuous recognition memory: does item retrieval difficulty promote item retention in older adults? Exp Aging Res 39:322-41
Hoyer, William J; Cerella, John; Buchler, Norbou G (2011) A search-by-clusters model of visual search: fits to data from younger and older adults. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 66:402-10
D'Eredita, Michael A; Hoyer, William J (2010) Transfer of instances in cognitive skill learning: adult age differences. Exp Aging Res 36:23-39
Buchler, Norbou G; Hoyer, William J; Cerella, John (2008) Rules and more rules: the effects of multiple tasks, extensive training, and aging on task-switching performance. Mem Cognit 36:735-48
Onyper, Serge V; Hoyer, William J; Cerella, John (2008) Effects of item difficulty on the retrieval of solutions during cognitive skill acquisition: age differences. Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn 15:358-83
Hoyer, William J; Semenec, Silvie C; Buchler, Norbou E G (2007) Acute alcohol intoxication impairs controlled search across the visual field. J Stud Alcohol Drugs 68:748-58
White, Andrea S; Cerella, John; Hoyer, William J (2007) Strategy transitions during cognitive skill learning in younger and older adults: effects of interitem confusability. Mem Cognit 35:2106-17
Verhaeghen, Paul; Hoyer, William J (2007) Aging, focus switching, and task switching in a continuous calculation task: evidence toward a new working memory control process. Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn 14:22-39
Cerella, John; Onyper, Serge V; Hoyer, William J (2006) The associative-memory basis of cognitive skill learning: adult age differences. Psychol Aging 21:483-98
Onyper, Serge V; Hoyer, William J; Cerella, John (2006) Determinants of retrieval solutions during cognitive skill training: source confusions. Mem Cognit 34:538-49

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