Investigating age differences in the influence of joint attention on working memory.


Previous research has demonstrated that older adults make limited use of social cues as compared to younger adults. This has been investigated by testing the influence of gaze cues on attentional processes, with findings showing significantly smaller gaze-cuing effects for older than younger adults. Here, we aimed to investigate whether this would also result in age-related differences in the influence of gaze cues on working memory (WM). We therefore tested the effects of gaze cues from realistic human avatars on working memory across two experiments using dynamic head turns and more subtle eye gaze movements. We compared working memory for items looked at by the cue (congruent), looked away from by the cue (incongruent), and items shown when the cue looked down (neutral). Results demonstrated that for both older and younger adults, gaze cues influenced working memory processes, though there were some important differences related to the nature of the cue. When the cue made a dynamic head turn both younger and older adults showed an equivalent effect of gaze on attention. However, when only the eyes moved, while both the younger and older adults showed an effect of gaze on working memory, there appeared to be a difference in how the participants interpreted the neutral cue, with the older adults appearing to interpret the neutral cues in a similar way to the congruent cues. Overall, we provide important evidence that sharing attention benefits cognition across the life span.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Aston Institute of Health & Neurodevelopment (AIHN)
College of Health & Life Sciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > Clinical and Systems Neuroscience
Additional Information: © 2022 American Psychological Association. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. The final article is available, upon publication, at: Funding Information: This work was supported by a Leverhulme Trust early career fellowship (ECF-2018-130) awarded to Samantha E. A. Gregory.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Attention,Gaze,Gaze cuing,Joint attention,Social,Social Psychology,Ageing,Geriatrics and Gerontology
Publication ISSN: 1939-1498
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 07:34
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2022 14:52
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Related URLs: https://psycnet ... /2022-83027-001 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-09
Published Online Date: 2022-07-21
Accepted Date: 2022-07-01
Authors: Gregory, Samantha E. A.
Kessler, Klaus (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-7307-9539)



Version: Accepted Version

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