Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Modeling age-related differences in immediate memory using SIMPLE

By Aimée M. Surprenant, Ian Neath and G. D. A. (Gordon D. A.) Brown


In the SIMPLE model (Scale Invariant Memory and Perceptual Learning), performance on memory tasks is determined by the locations of items in multidimensional space, and better performance is associated with having fewer close neighbors. Unlike most previous simulations with SIMPLE, the ones reported here used measured, rather than assumed, dimensional values. The data to be modeled come from an experiment in which younger and older adults recalled lists of acoustically confusable and nonconfusable items. A multidimensional scaling solution based on the memory confusions was obtained. SIMPLE accounted for the overall difference in performance both between the two age groups and, within each age group, the overall difference between acoustically confusable and nonconfusable items in terms of the MDS coordinates. Moreover, the model accounted for the serial position functions and error gradients. Finally, the generality of the model’s account was examined by fitting data from an already published study. The data and the modeling support the hypothesis that older adults’ memory may be worse, in part, because of altered representations due to age-related auditory perceptual deficits

Topics: BF
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2006
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1986). A functional account of age differences
  2. (1986). A molar entropy model of age differences in spatial memory. Psychology and Aging 1998;13:501–518. [PubMed: 9793124] Baddeley AD. Short-term memory for word sequences as a function of acoustic, semantic, and formal similarity.
  3. Abolishing the word-length effect. doi
  4. (1990). Adult age differences in short-term memory for serial order: data and a model. Psychology and Aging 1999;14:572–594. [PubMed: 10632146] doi
  5. (1990). Applied cognitive gerontology: some problems, methodologies and data. doi
  6. (1975). Auditory short-term memory and vowel perception. Memory and Cognition doi
  7. (2008). Author manuscript; available in PMC
  8. (1999). Cognitive regulation of performance: interaction of theory and application. doi
  9. (1999). Computer simulations of global memory models. doi
  10. (1986). Confusable and discriminable stimuli: comment on Nosofsky doi
  11. (2002). Evidence for time-based models of free recall. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. in press Brown GDA, Neath I, Chater N. A ratio model of scale-invariant memory and identification (unpublished manuscript).
  12. (1999). Fit of the positional version of SIMPLE (right panel) for data reported by Maylor et al.
  13. Grouping of list items reflected in the timing of recall: implications for models of serial verbal memory. doi
  14. (1995). How young and old adults listen to and remember speech in noise. doi
  15. (2000). Implications of perceptual deterioration for cognitive aging research.
  16. (1999). Listening in aging adults: from discourse comprehension to psychoacoustics. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology 2002;56:139–152. [PubMed: 12271745] Scialfa CT. The role of sensory factors in cognitive aging research. doi
  17. (2006). Making distinctiveness models of memory distinct.
  18. (1999). MDS solutions for younger (left panel) and older (right panel) subjects from Maylor et al.
  19. (1993). Memory and Language 2004;50:408–424. [PubMed: 16981012] Salthouse TA. Speed and knowledge as determinants of adult age differences in verbal tasks.
  20. Mild hearing loss can cause apparent memory failures which increase with age and reduce with IQ. Acta Otolaryngology Supplement 1991;476:167–176. Ratcli R, Thapar A, McKoon G. A diffusion model analysis of the effects of aging on recognition memory. doi
  21. (1977). Nonmetric individual differences multidimensional scaling: an alternating least squares method with optimal scaling features. Psychometrika doi
  22. (1988). On exemplar-based exemplar representations: Ennis doi
  23. Order error in immediate recall of sequences. doi
  24. Sensory functioning and intelligence in old age: a strong connection. doi
  25. (1992). Similarity scaling and cognitive process models. doi
  26. (2006). SIMPLE: further applications of a local distinctiveness model of memory. doi
  27. (1970). Some experiments on speech perception and a model for the perceptual mechanism.
  28. (1996). The processing speed theory of adult age differences in cognition. Psychological Review 1996;103:403–428. [PubMed: 8759042] Salthouse TA, Hancock HE, Meinz EJ, Hambrick DZ. Interrelations of age, visual acuity, and cognitive functioning.
  29. Timeless memory: evidence against temporal distinctiveness models of short term memory for serial order. doi
  30. Transformations in the couplings among intellectual abilities and constituent cognitive processes across the life span. doi
  31. (1996). Unchained memory: error patterns rule out chaining models of immediate serial recall. doi
  32. (1988). Working memory, comprehension, and aging: a review and a new view. doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.