Age-related differences on cognitive overload in an audio-visual memory task

Jennifer Murray, Mary E. Thomson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The present study aimed to provide evidence outlining whether the type of stimuli used in teaching would provoke differing levels of recall across three different academic age groups. One hundred and twenty-one participants, aged 11-25 years, were given a language-based memory task in the form of a wordlist consisting of 15 concrete and 15 abstract words, presented either visually, acoustically, or a combination of both audio and visual presentation. The study found that the presence of cognitive overload was greater in the older academic age participants than in the younger groups and that as academic experience increased, the visual presentation of the target stimuli produced greater levels of recall than was the case with acoustic and audio-visual presentation. Overall the findings indicate that cognitive overload increases with age, as the younger-age groups were found to have significantly higher levels of word recall in the audio-visual condition than the older groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-141
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011


  • age related differences
  • cognitive psychology
  • memory

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