Age and Memory Assignment



Lab Assignment 8: Cognition in Aging and Disease


A researcher is interested in studying changes in cognition as a function of healthy aging and in neurocognitive disease. She studies 3 groups of participants: A) younger, healthy controls (N=10), B) older, healthy controls (N=10), and C) patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD; N=10). For the task, all participants are asked to name 100 pictures of nameable objects (e.g., fruits and vegetables, tools, animals, plants). After a delay of 1 hour, she then shows another 100 pictures of nameable objects, where half of the pictures (i.e., 50) are new (‘Novel’) and half of the pictures (i.e, 50) were shown during the previous session (‘Repeated’). Participants are again asked to name the items. She then compares reaction time (i.e., how quickly participants were able to name the pictures; noted below in seconds) for the Novel and Repeated items after the delay period across the 3 participant groups.


Use the following data and your online text chapter on aging to answer the questions below:


Young Controls Older Controls AD Patients
# Novel Repeated # Novel Repeated # Novel Repeated
1) 0.7138 0.625 11) 0.738 0.6313 21) 0.9367 0.9542
2) 0.7251 0.6634 12) 1.0458 0.9366 22) 1.447 1.1416
3) 0.5861 0.5205 13) 0.9134 0.7803 23) 1.7396 1.5006
4) 0.6874 0.5205 14) 0.8348 0.7999 24) 1.2181 1.0223
5) 0.7545 0.7197 15) 0.9303 0.7544 25) 1.1695 1.2031
6) 0.7092 0.65 16) 0.7678 0.6861 26) 0.7843 0.6704
7) 0.4707 0.4628 17) 0.7994 0.7347 27) 1.1631 0.94
8) 0.7846 0.6431 18) 0.8703 0.7633 28) 1.2254 1.1638
9) 0.7563 0.6466 19) 0.752 0.6579 29) 0.7074 0.7681
10) 0.6436 0.7078 20) 0.8814 0.7535 30) 0.7034 0.674


Key:#=Participant number (1-10=Young Controls, 11-20=Older Controls, 21-30=Alzheimer’s patients); Novel=average reaction time in seconds to novel pictures; Repeated=average reaction time in seconds to repeated pictures





  • The researcher is interested in testing whether naming speed increases as a function of cognitive aging and disease. What is this change in naming speed called (hint: refer to p. 9 in your text) (1 point)?
  • The researcher has used different subjects in each group, though she is interested in making a generalization about changes in age. What type of study design is she using (hint: see p. 7 in your text) (1 point)? Define one problem with using this type of study design (1 point).
  • On average, which group had the best performance for repeated pictures (1 point)? Which group had the worst performance for repeated pictures (1 point)?
  • If you look at the difference in performance for novel compared to repeated pictures (i.e., Novel RT- Repeated RT), this is a measure of priming (which you learned about in week 2). You can calculate priming for each group by subtracting the mean RT for repeated pictures from the mean RT for novel pictures, then multiplying this value by 1000. The formula is below:



What is the priming value for young controls (1 point)? What is the priming value for older controls (1 point)? What is the priming value for AD patients (1 point)?



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