Thesis Proposal


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

Thesis Proposal

  1. 1. Introduction<br />Within the last decade, the study of imagination, memory, and consciousness has sparked considerable investigation in cognitive geropsychology. Implicit memory and explicit memory are two dissociable memory tasks that reveal the nuances of cognitive aging from both a behavioral and a neurological perspective. For instance, Anooshian(1997), Carroll, Byrne, & Kirsner (1985), Ellis, Ellis, & Hosey (1993), Greenbaum & Graf (1989), Lorsbach & Morris (1991), Lorsbach & Worman (1990), Naito (1990), and Parkin & Streete (1988) showed very few age differences for implicit memory tasks; however explicit memory tasks did reveal age-related memory declines. Explicit memory is deemed more of a necessity for human survival than implicit memory because this type of memory enhances the formation of cognitive networks (Baddeley, 1998). Heightened activity of the prefrontal lobe and strengthening of associative memory is related to the compensatory mechanisms of working memory during aging memory processes. Two prime facets of associative memory are deep/shallow levels of processing effects, and subliminal/supraliminal factors. To obtain a clearer picture of the compensatory mechanisms used to preserve aging memory processes, I will analyze the influence of these specific associative memory processes on explicit memory test performance in aging adults. <br />Definitions and uses of explicit memory tests<br />Explicit memory tests measure the conscious recollection of memory of previously presented stimuli (Joyce, Paller, McIsaac, & Kutas, 1998). When one performs well on an explicit test, he or she has brought factual knowledge to their awareness. The explicit memory test stimuli can be presented visually, pictorially, or aurally (Drury, Kinsella, & Ong, 2000). Recall and recognition are two main types of explicit memory tests used by the research community. <br />Distinctions between Supraliminal and Subliminal Memory Processes <br />Supraliminal memory processes are driven by strong feelings of recollection of events that enhance one’s ability to visualize the scene. Subliminal processes depend upon feelings of familiarity without remembering an actual event. Many theories have been presented to explain the differences among two cognitive processes, model based and task based separations. For my experiment, task based separation offers the best explanation. Task based separation uses cued and free recall direct tests to analyze supraliminal memory processes. Moreover, the theory uses stem completion, an indirect test, to examine these cognitive factors. Within the task separation procedure, both direct and indirect tests are administered presenting participants with a list of either words or pictures. The participants are instructed to complete the free recall or cued recall, word-fragment, picture-fragment or word completion tasks (Mandler, 1980).<br />The Influences of both Supraliminal and Subliminal Memory Processes<br />Mixed tests are influenced by both processes (Mandler, 1980). Tulving cited in Brainerd et al., 1998) uses the remember-know procedure that gives participants a recognition test asking them to reject unstudied words and accept studied words. Additionally, participants are asked to place a judgment on their level of familiarity or recollection of each word they accept. However, indirect and direct tests may not be true measures of respective memory processes (Jacoby, 1996). The experimental model may be contaminated by the indiscernible effects of the simultaneous thought processes.<br /> Jacoby, Toth, and Yonelinas (1993) used exclusion tasks such as word-stem completion and forced-choice recognition to study these dissociable cognitive processes. The researcher instructed the participant to suppress memories of the original word list during the testing phase. The participants’ success in not responding with words from the original list shows the strength of their conscious control abilities. However, their failure to “exclude” the words from the original list reveals their reliance on automaticity. <br />To further elucidate unconscious and conscious memory differences, Postma et al. (2008) told Korsakoff patients to place pictures displayed on a computer screen in their appropriate physical locations. Then, the researcher instructed the patients to memorize each object’s proper location. In the “include” condition, the patients placed half of the target objects in their appropriate location. During the “exclude” condition, the patients placed half of the objects in a different location from the memorized location. In the include condition, conscious and unconscious processes complement each other while in the exclude condition, conscious and unconscious processes stymie each other. Moreover, Caldwell & Masson (2001) further evidences age related declines in conscious recall of object location tasks while unconscious processes were preserved. <br />The relationship between levels of processing theory and conceptual memory<br />In the advent of cognitive psychology, spreading activation theory depicted memory as an object, a trace, or an engram (Lockhart, 2002). However, Craik & Lockhart (1972) developed a classic study that disproved these tenets of spreading activation; thus, their success evidenced a phenomenon called ” levels of processing”. They showed that deep or semantically processed stimuli had a higher chance of recall than shallow or physically processed stimuli. Their replication of effects of levels of processing when participants did not expect subsequent recall or recognition tests reveals the formidable nature of this theory.<br /> The levels of processing view served as a backbone for the memory research community because it provided the threadbare for future studies of explicit and implicit memory. Bringing levels of processing to the forefront of memory research, led to the search for dissociable memory systems, or retrieval strategies (Tulving, 1983). However, Roediger (1990) posed that the dissociation of semantic processing effects on explicit and implicit memory tasks only pertained to perceptual priming tests. Comparing younger and older adults, older participants tend to score lower than younger participants on explicit memory tasks. However, they showed close to normal performance on perceptual implicit tasks (Light & Singh, 1987). <br />Monti, Gabrieli, Reminger, Rinaldi, Wilson, & Fleischman (1996) manipulated levels of processing to evaluate conceptual processing during priming tasks. To accomplish this goal, the researchers used exemplar generation and cued-recall. As a result, older adults showed more deeply processed priming than shallow processed priming (Chiarello & Hoyer, 1988; Light & Singh, 1996). <br />The process dissociation procedure used an opposition paradigm to show the dissociation between subliminal and supraliminal processes. After reading a list of names, participants were told that the presented names were nonfamous. In the testing condition, the subjects saw the same nonfamous names, famous names, and novel nonfamous names. The probability of mislabeling a nonfamous name as famous shows the effect of subliminal processes. Supraliminal processes would have helped the participant identify the stimuli in the forced-choice test (Toth, Reingold, & Jacoby, 1994). <br />Additionally, elaboration and retrieval intentionality were thought to be paramount to levels of processing effects on memory (Mandler, Hamson & Dorfman, 1990; Schacter, Bowers, & Booker, 1989). Newell & Andrews (2004) used a direct test of lexical processing to investigate whole word processing in shallow levels of processing conditions. They showed the effects of graphemic, phonemic, and semantic tasks on stem completion task performance. The direct test instructed the participants to complete the stems with target list words. The indirect test instructed participants to complete the stems with the first word that came to mind. <br /> When coupled with the encoding specificity principle, the transfer-appropriate processing theory stands in direct opposition to levels of processing theory (Lockhart, 2002). However, Fisher & Craik qtd in Lockhart (2002) showed the primacy of deep levels of processing used in recall performance during the full engagement of transfer-appropriate processing approaches. <br />There are five main types of implicit memory tasks which lie along the perceptual/ conceptual continuum (Mitchell & Bruss, 2003). The category exemplar test is a popular implicit memory test among cognitive researchers. During the test, the participants view target exemplars from taxonomic groups of animals and vegetables. Explicit memory and implicit memory task distinctions begin to blur because this test is not affected by variations in surface features or modalities (Srinivas & Roediger, 1990). Semantic levels of processing surprisingly affect this task although it is still considered to be a “priming” task (Monti et al., 1996). However, category exemplar priming does not depend on explicit retrieval strategies. Therefore, there may be a neural mechanism that drives the conceptual facilitation of memory (Monti et al., 1996). There remains a paucity of research that examines the direct effects of semantically processed stimuli on category exemplar task performance in older adults. <br />Relationship between deep levels of processing, subliminal memory, and aging explicit memory<br />The present study aims to study how semantic processing affects explicit memory task performance when moderated by subliminal retrieval. This study may shed light on the effectiveness of cognitive and behavioral strategies used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by revealing the strength of memory enhancing interventions using knowledge of the influence of the subliminal memory processes on semantically processed explicit memory in older adults. In a previous study, Brandshaw and Anderson (1982) showed the effect of elaboration and thematic-relatedness on memory processes. Their study demonstrated higher memory performance in the formation of elaborately integrated memory traces and lower memory performance in the formation of poorly integrated memory traces. Hence, their study relates the activation of neural networks through the elaboration model of interconnected memory traces. By making the distinction between related and unrelated conditions, the researchers precipitated the use of thematic/non-thematic methodologies to analyze elaborative levels of memory processes (Bradshaw & Anderson, 1982). In the current study, I adapted their methodology to fit my experimental model for studying explicit memory performance. <br />Purpose of this study<br />In the current study, I will investigate the effects of presentation of subliminal/supraliminal stimuli and shallow/deep levels of processing on explicit memory task performance in older adults. I hypothesize that when controlling presentation of stimuli, there will be higher performance in deep processing conditions than shallow processing conditions. Earlier studies showed better performance using deep processing rather than shallow processing (Drury, Kinsella & Ong, 2000). When levels of processing are controlled, subliminally presented conditions should yield lower explicit memory performance scores than supraliminal presentation conditions. Fay, Isingrini, & Clarys (2005) revealed similar effects of semantic processing and conscious awareness on perceptual and conceptual implicit memory. The interaction of levels of processing effects with presentation of stimuli should show higher performance in subliminal presentation and deep levels of processing conditions than in subliminal presentation and shallow processing conditions. A recent experiment showed how participants use semantic processing to facilitate conceptual unconscious memory test performance (Paivio, 1979; Richardson, 1980). Generally, I expect to see higher explicit memory performance in subliminal presentation and deep levels of processing conditions and lower performance in subliminal and shallow levels of processing conditions in older adults revealing unconscious facilitation of deeply processed explicit memory in older adults. Please refer to Figure 6 for the graph of the hypothesized interaction.<br />Method<br />Participants<br />The participant pool will consist of roughly 50 members from the Sacramento/Yolo aging population. All individuals chosen for the sample will be over the age of 55. I will disseminate flyers recruiting participants from the following senior communities and organizations: Ethel Hart MacLeod Senior Center, Campus Commons Residential Community, St Francis Retirement Homes, Camellia Commons Retirement Residential Community, Arden Park Villa, Albert Einstein Senior Center, Leisure Manor, Mercy McMahon Terrace, Senior Spectrum, Broadway Senior Center, Zencar, Easter Seals, and Senior Center Elk Grove. Refer to Figures 4 and 5 for the flyers recruiting the subject pool from senior organizations within the Sacramento/Elk Grove region. Additionally, refer to Figure 8 to see a sample recruitment letter I plan to submit to the administrator of each senior organization.<br /> The flyer will instruct the participants to contact the activity coordinators of the residential community for information about the nature of the experiment to mitigate their fears of participating in a research study. I will telephone potential participants and screen for basic computer knowledge and cognitive abilities with the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Abilities, which has a maximum duration of ten minutes (Desmond, Tatemichi, & Hanzawa, 1994). During the interview, I will request from them the following information: 1) name, (2) age, (3) email, (4) their willingness to participate in the study, (5) phone number, and, (6) education level. <br />Design<br />I will use a 2x2 factorial design consisting of two within-subjects variables, presentation of stimuli (subliminal/supraliminal) and elaborative levels of processing (shallow/deep). The deep levels of processing condition will be implemented through the presentation of thematically related words. The shallow levels of processing condition will be administered through the presentation of non-thematic words. The dependent variable will be explicit memory test performance. Refer to Table 1 for operational definitions of each variable. Refer to Table 1 for a description of independent and dependent variables used in the experiment.<br />Materials<br />Cognitive Pretest. Researchers designed the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Abilities to provide researchers with an instrument for quick and efficient screening of individuals with impaired visual and writing abilities (Brandt, Spencer, & Folstein, 1996). The Telephone Interview for Cognitive Abilities has a high degree of reliability and validity as a screening assessment (Brandt, Spencer, & Folstein, 1996). In particular, its effectiveness surpasses the Mini-Mental Status Exam in detecting cognitive limitations among aging individuals. The results of the test reliably show the differences between those with cognitive impairments (scores below 25) and those with normal cognition (scores between 25 and 30) (Desmond, Tamechi, & Hanzawa, 1994). To determine the eligibility for participating in the experiment, participants scoring below 25 will be excluded from the study. See Table 2 for a model Telephone Interview Cognitive Status exam used to screen the pool of subjects.<br />Graphic User Interface. An ASUS Windows 7 512 MB GEFORCE G210M gaming computer monitor will provide the setting for the four phase human-computer interaction. The font types, sizes animation, and colors throughout the graphic interface will be consistent throughout the phases to ensure that the results are not confounded by differences in font sizes and readability. To capture and record the screen presentation, I will use Windows Live Movie Maker. To burn the DVD, l will use Windows DVD Maker. These two programs were downloaded as freeware for Windows 7 Home Premium.<br />Thematic Word List. To create a word list for the deep levels of processing condition, I will randomly generate the thematic words from the following website: In my study, I will use the theme of “Zoo Animals” because zoo animals’ names are commonly known to most members of society. The following website displays the list of “Zoo Animals”:<br /> In the deep levels of processing condition, ten words will be randomly chosen from the “Zoo Animal” list. Although people generally know enough about these categories to see that several words from the list are related, to error on the side of caution, I will be checking for the reliability of the thematic nature of the words on each list. When presented with the list of potentially thematic words, I will aim for an inter-rater reliability coefficient of .70. Achieving this measure for each word’s thematic relatedness will solidify my decision to include the word on the thematic word list. Refer to Figure 2 for the rater questionnaire used for the assessment of rating reliability of thematically related words.<br />Non-Thematic/Random Word List. I will randomly generate the non-thematic word list for phases I and 4 from the following websites: and Additionally, I will randomly generate eight non-thematic words from the aforementioned website to create distracter words for the recognition test. <br />Recognition Test. The recognition test will be a forty question pencil and paper forced-choice exam. The participants will be instructed to check “Yes” or “No” to indicate whether the given word was seen in the list of presented words. I will calculate six scores altogether, one sub-score for the number of words recognized from each within subject condition (subliminal/supraliminal, deep/shallow levels of processing), one general score for the number of words one correctly identified from the original list and a sub-score for false alarms (incorrect “Yes” responses). Please refer to Figure 3 for the sample recognition test.<br />Procedure<br />I will administer the following four phases during the computerized part of the study: non-thematic/supraliminal, thematic/subliminal, thematic/supraliminal, and non-thematic/subliminal. The thematic/non-thematic conditions and subliminal/supraliminal conditions will be counterbalanced for each participant to reduce order effects. In the non-thematic/supraliminal condition, I will present a series of 10 non-thematic words to the participants. These words will be presented for 2 seconds each. Next, in the thematic/subliminal condition, the participants will see a series of 10 thematic words presented for .05s each. Then, in the thematic/supraliminal condition, ten words will be presented for 2 seconds at a time. Finally, in the non-thematic/subliminal condition, ten words will be presented for .05 seconds each. Because the literature shows no absolute threshold for supraliminal perception, I made a judgment call using research on age-related processing limitations and decided to use a five second standard for the supraliminal presentation condition (Moore, 1982; Whiting & Smith, 1997). Although the research overwhelmingly accepts 1ms for the subliminal perceptual threshold, for this experiment, software constraints limited the duration of the subliminal presentation condition to .05s(Moore, 1982; Khilstrom, 1987). I chose to create a word list length of twenty words for each levels of processing condition because research suggests that aging working memory capacity can store approximately a 15 item word list without experiencing cognitive overload (Nielsen, Lolk, & Kragh-Sorensen, 1998). Please refer to Figure 1 for a complete word list for each levels of processing condition.<br />Finally, the participants will take a 40 word pencil and paper recognition test comprised of forty “Yes”/”No” questions that will test the participant’s explicit memory of the presented word stimuli. Sixteen words will be randomly chosen from each levels of processing condition for placement on the recognition test. The explicit memory test methodology was adapted from a priming and word recognition study by Tulving, Schacter & Stark (1982). I will compute the number of correct ‘Yes” responses as a general score for the explicit memory test. The participant will have 15-20 minutes to complete the exam but there will be no time limit for answering each individual question. <br />The participants’ anonymity will be protected through the use of codes to identify participants. Further, their rights to confidentiality will not be violated for the presented results will be based on group rather than individual averages. <br />Statistical Analysis<br />Using the traditional ANOVA, I will explore the sources of variation along each dimension of analysis. I will use the mixed 2x2 model ANOVA to examine the main effect of presentation of stimuli IV1 and elaborative levels of processing, IV2. I will analyze the role of unconscious processes on elaborative processing, IV1 X IV2, during the explicit memory task. I hypothesize that the participants’ score on words presented subliminally will be higher than those presented supraliminally in the deep levels of processing condition. First, I will analyze the main effect of presentation of stimuli. I propose that supraliminal presentation of stimuli will yield higher scores than subliminal presentation of stimuli. I will also investigate the simple effect of each level of elaborative processing IV2. I will determine whether the scores on deeply processed words will be higher than those words processed at the surface level. Lastly, I will examine the potential interaction between the two within subject variables: presentation of stimuli, and elaborative levels of processing to see if there are any dichotomous relationships between these variables IV1xIV2 I pose that there will be higher explicit memory scores for subliminally presented words in deeply processed conditions than scores for words presented subliminally in shallow processed conditions. <br />References<br />Anooshian, L.J. (1997). Distinctions between implicit and explicit memory: Significance for understanding <br />cognitive development. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 21, 453-478.<br />Anooshian, L. J. (1999). Understanding age differences in memory: Disentangling conscious and <br />unconscious processes. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 23, 1-18.<br />Baddeley, A. (1998). Working memory. Life Sciences, 321, 167-173.<br />Bradshaw, G. L. & Anderson, J. R. (1982). Elaborative encoding as an explanation of levels of processing. <br />Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 21, 165-174.<br />Brainerd, C. J., Stein, L. M., & Reyna, V. F. (1998). On the development of conscious and <br />unconscious memory. Developmental Psychology, 34, 342-357.<br />Brandt, T., Spencer, M., & Folstein, M. (1996). Telephone interview for cognitive status. <br />Clinical Nurse Research. <br />Caldwell, JI, Masson, ME (2001). Conscious and unconscious influences of memory for object location. <br />Memory & Cognition, 29, 285-295.<br />Carroll, M. & Byrne, B. (1985). Autobiographical memory and perceptual learning: A developmental <br />study using picture recognition, naming latency, and perceptual identification. Memory & Cognition, 13, 273-279.<br />Chiarello, C. & Hoyer, W. J. (1988). Adult age differences in implicit and explicit memory: Time course <br />and encoding effects. Psychology and Aging, 3, 358-366.<br />Craik F. I. M. & Lockhart, R. S. (2009). Levels of processing and Zinchenko’s approach to memory <br />research. Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, 46(6), 52-60.<br />Craik, F. I. M. & Lockhart, R. S. (1972). Levels of processing: A framework for memory research. Journal <br />of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 11, 671-684. <br />Desmond, D. W., Tatemichi, T. K. , & Hanzawa, L. (1994). The telephone interview for <br />cognitive status (TICS): Reliability and validity in a stroke sample. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 9, 803-807.<br />Drury, J. L., Kinsella, G. J., & Ong, B. (2000). Age differences in explicit and implicit memory <br />for pictures. Neuropsychology, 14, 93-101.<br />Ellis, H. D., Ellis, D. M., & Hosie, J. A. (1993). Priming effects in children’s face recognition. British Journal <br />of Psychology, 84, 101-110.<br />Fay, S. , Insingrini, M., & Clarys, D. (2005). Effects of depth of processing and ageing on word-<br />stem and word-fragment implicit memory tasks: Test of the lexical-processing <br />hypothesis. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 17, 785-802.<br />Greenbaum, J. L. & Graf, P. (1989). Preschool period development of implicit and explicit remembering. <br />Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 27, 417-420. <br />Joyce, C. A., Paller, K. A., McIsaac, H. K., & Kutas, M. (1998). Memory changes with normal aging: <br />Behavioral and electrophysiological measures. Psychopharmacology,35, 669-678.<br />Kihlstrom, J. F. (1987). The cognitive unconscious. Science, 237, 1445-1451.<br />Light, L. L. & Singh, A. (1987). Implicit and explicit memory in young and older adults. Journal of <br />Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 13, 531-541.<br />Lockhart, R. S. (2002). Levels of processing, transfer-appropriate processing, and the concept of <br />robust encoding. Memory, 10, 397-403.<br />Lorsbach, T. C. & Morris, A. K. (1991). Direct and indirect testing of picture memory in second and sixth <br />grade children. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 16, 18-27.<br />Lorsbach, T. C., & Worman, L. J. ( 1990). Episodic priming in children with learning disabilities. <br />Contemporary Educational Psychology, 15, 93-102. <br />Mandler, G. (1980).Recognizing: The judgment of previous occurrence. Psychological Review, 87, 252-<br />271.<br />Mandler, G., Hamson, C. O., & Dorfman, J. (1990). Tests of dual process theory: Word priming and <br />recognition. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: Section A, 42A, 713-739.<br />Mitchell, D. B. & Bruss, P. J. (2003). Age differences in implicit memory: Conceptual, perceptual, or <br />methodological? Psychology and Aging, 18, 807-822.<br />Monti, L. A., Reminger, S. L., Gabrieli, J. D. E., Rinaldi, J. A. & Wilson, R. S. (1996). <br />Differential effects of aging and Alzheimer’s disease on conceptual implicit and explicit <br />memory. Neuropsychology, 10, 101-112.<br />Moore, T. E. (1982). Subliminal advertising: What you see is what you get. Journal of Marketing, 48, 38-<br />47.<br />Naito, M. (1990). Repetition priming in children and adults: Age-related dissociation between implicit <br />and explicit memory. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 50, 462-484.<br />Newell, B.R. & Andrews, S. (2004) Levels of processing effects on implicit and explicit memory tasks: <br />Using question position to investigate the lexical-processing hypothesis. Experimental Psychology, 51, 1-13.<br />Nielsen, H., Lolk, A., & Kragh-Sorensen, P. (1998). Age-associated memory impairment-pathological <br />memory or normal aging. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 39, 33-37.<br />Paivio, A. (1979) Imagery and verbal process. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.<br />Paller, K. A. (2000). Neural measures of conscious and unconscious memory. Behavioural <br />Neurology, 12, 127-141.<br />Parkin, A. J. & Streete, S. (1988). Implicit memory in young children and adults. British Journal of <br />Psychology, 79, 361-369.<br />Postma, A., Antonides, R., Wester, A. J., & Kessels, R. P. C. (2008). Spared unconscious influences of <br />spatial memory in diencephalic amnesia. Experimental Brain Research, 190, 125-133.<br />Richardson, J.T.E.(1980). Mental imagery and human memory. London: Macmillan.<br />Roediger, H. L. III. (1990). Implicit memory: Retention without remembering. American Psychologist, 45, <br />1043-1056.<br />Schacter, D. L., Bowers, J. & Booker, J. (1989). Intention, awareness and implicit memory: The retrieval <br />intentionality criterion. In S. Lewandowsky, J.C. Dunn, & K. Kirsner (Eds.), Implicit memory: Theoretical issues (pp. 47-65). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.<br />Snirvas, K. & Roediger, H. L., III (1990). Classifying implicit memory tests: Category association and <br />anagram solution. Journal of Memory and Language, 29, 389-412.<br />Toth, J. P., Reingold, E. M., & Jacoby, L. L. (1994). Toward a redefinition of implicit memory: <br />Process-dissociation following elaborative processing and self-generation. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 20, 290-303.<br />Tulving, E. (1983). Elements of episodic memory. New York: Oxford University.<br />Tulving, E., Schacter, D. L., & Stark, H. A. (1982). Priming effects in word-fragment <br />completions are independent of recognition memory. Journal of Experimental <br />Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 8, 336-342.<br />Whiting, W. L. IV., & Smith, A. D. (1997). Differential age-related processing limitations in recall and <br />recognition tasks. Psychology and Aging, 12(2), 216-224.<br />Table 1. Variable definition table<br />Operational Definitions of Independent and Dependent Variables used in the Memory and Aging Study<br />Variable ListDescription<br />Presentation of Stimuli IV2<br />Subliminal IV1AIn two out of four phases, 10 will be presented to the participants for .05 seconds each.<br />Supraliminal IV1BIn two out of four phases, 10 words will be presented to the participants for 2 seconds each.<br />Elaborative Levels of Processing IV3<br />Deep IV2aIn two out of four phases, 10 thematically related words will be presented to the participants. The order of conditions will be counterbalanced to minimize order effects.<br />Shallow IV2bIn two out of four phases, 10 non-thematically related words will be presented to the participants. The order of conditions will be counterbalanced to minimize order effects.<br />Explicit Memory Test Performance DVThe participant’s score on a forty item multiple-choice recognition test administered after the presentation of twenty-four words. The score represents the number of total correct “Yes” responses to the question of whether the participant recognizes the word from the original word list and the sub-totals for the number of subliminally presented words guessed correctly, supraliminal words guessed correctly, the number of deeply processed and shallow processed words guessed correctly and false alarms, the number of incorrect “Yes” responses, to study forgetting in aging memory. Although wrong answers will be recorded, participants will not be penalized for them. Sixteen words from each presentation condition (subliminal/supraliminal) will be the material for the recognition test. Within each group of words, eight of those words will be randomly selected from the deeply processed condition and eight words will be randomly selected from the shallow processed condition. The remaining eight words will be chosen from a random word list. <br />Table 2. Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status<br />Figure 1. Non-Thematic/Supraliminal, Non-Thematic/Subliminal, and Thematic/Subliminal, Thematic/Supraliminal Word Lists<br />The order of experimental phases resembles the order on the submitted demo DVD.<br />Phase I<br /> Non-thematic/Supraliminally Presented<br />bankruptcy<br />motorcycle<br />torchlight <br />buddy<br />unfasten<br />thumbprint<br />technician<br />rottweiler<br />middlebrow<br />grandchild<br />Phase II<br />Thematic (“Zoo Animals”)/Subliminally Presented<br />zebra<br /> penguin<br /> rhino<br /> hyena<br /> giraffe<br /> lion<br /> hippo <br /> orangutan<br /> tiger<br /> leopard<br />Phase III<br />Thematic/Supraliminally Presented<br /> elephant<br /> bear<br /> chimp<br /> alligator<br /> gorilla<br /> crocodile<br /> kangaroo<br /> gazelle<br /> lizard<br /> antelope<br />Phase IV<br />Non-thematic/Subliminally Presented<br /> baron<br /> groin<br /> exhilarate<br /> bandanna<br /> incongruity<br /> skirt<br /> drive<br /> test<br /> notion<br /> compactor <br />Four Distracter Non-thematic words for Recognition Test<br />nostril<br />vigorous<br />breastbone<br />purse<br />Four Distracter Thematic words for the Recognition Test<br /> camel<br /> llama<br /> chinchilla<br /> panther<br />Six Distracter Thematic words for the Inter-rater Questionnaire<br /> camel<br /> chinchilla<br /> llama<br /> panda<br /> snake<br /> panther<br />Figure 2. Questionnaire used to assess the thematic relatedness of words in the thematic word list. <br />Instructions: Please study these words carefully and rate how strongly you agree that each word on the list is related to the word list theme, “Zoo Animals” Fill in the bubble that represents your level of agreement of the relatedness of the word to the word list theme. <br />1= strongly disagree<br />2=somewhat disagree<br /> 3=neither disagree nor agree<br /> 4=somewhat agree<br /> 5=strongly agree<br /> <br />zebra1 2 3 4 5<br />penguin <br />rhino <br />hyena <br />giraffe <br />lion <br />hippo <br />kangaroo <br />tiger <br />leopard <br />elephant <br />bear <br />chimp <br />alligator <br />gorilla <br />crocodile <br />lizard <br />gazelle <br />orangutan <br />antelope <br />camel <br />chinchilla <br />llama <br />panda <br />snake <br />panther <br />Figure 3. Forty-Item forced-choice recognition test<br />Instructions: Please study these words carefully and checkmark either the “Yes” or “No” box indicating whether you remember seeing the following words during the multi-phase computer screen presentation. <br /> Yes No<br />bandanna <br />alligator <br />breastbone <br />chinchilla <br />antelope <br />chimp <br />lion <br />unfasten <br />gorilla <br />panther <br />torchlight <br />elephant <br />nostril <br />rhino <br />buddy <br />kangaroo <br /> groin <br />vigorous <br />middlebrow <br />llama <br />penguin <br />lizard <br />grandchild <br /> orangutan <br />test <br />camel <br />notion <br />gazelle <br />skirt <br />exhilarate <br />thumbprint <br />giraffe <br />rottweiler <br />compactor <br />hyena <br />hippo <br />drive <br />zebra <br />bankruptcy <br /> <br />Figure 4. Recruitment Flyer used in Senior Residential Communities <br />Volunteers Needed for Cognitive Aging Study<br /><ul><li>This study will explore how older adults perceive and remember a series of words presented on a computer screen. From this study, I hope to pave the way for future studies on dementia and human consciousness by finding trends in different types of words a healthy aging adult is able to remember from previously seen lists of words.Eligibility for Participation: I will be recruiting 50 high functioning adults ages 55+.Each participant will be screened with a telephone cognitive assessment. Level of Involvement:I will provide my own transportation to travel to a place of your convenience when we set up an appointment that works best for the both of us.The cognitive test lasts for approximately ten minutes.The total time you would have to spend in front of a computer screen is 3 minutes.On the computer, the only button you would have to press is “play.”The total time of the experiment is a maximum of 25 minutes.I will compensate each participant for their time with a $5.00 gift card to a market of their choice (determined during the debriefing) Initially, the researcher will conduct a low-stress phone call interview. She will provide her own transportation on weekends to run the experiment at a place and time of your convenience. You have a choice of one $5 gift card to either Dollar Tree, Safeway, Target, or Walmart as a reward for participating. Please specify which gift card you would like during the phone interview. Space is limited, so be sure to sign up with your activities coordinator ASAP. </li></ul>Cognitive Aging Study(916)616-9672Cognitive Aging Study(916)616-9672Cognitive Aging Study(916) 616-9672Cognitive Aging Study(916) 616-9672Cognitive Aging Study(916) 616-9672Cognitive Aging Study(916) 616-9672Cognitive Aging Study(916) 616-9672Cognitive Aging Study(916) 616-9672Cognitive Aging Study(916) 616-9672Conitive Aging Study(916) 616-9672Cognitive Aging Study(916) 616-9672Cognitive Aging Study(916)616-9672Cognitive Aging Study(916)616-9672Cognitive Aging Study(916)616-96672<br />If interested in participating, please contact Felicia Oropeza, M.A. g Psychology candidate. C:(916)616-9672 Or email feoropeza@gmail.comFigure 2. Recruitment Flyer distributed through Spectrum Magazines, Senior Magainzes, AARP, Ethel Hart Senior Center, Sacramento Book Collector’s Club, Campus Commons, and Sacramento [<br />Figure 5. Recruitment Flyer to distribute among friends and family members for pilot study testing and to establish inter-rater reliability for word lists. <br />Volunteers needed for Pilot Study Testing<br /> <br />Who can participate?:<br /><ul><li>I will be recruiting twenty individuals between the ages of 15 and 54 to test my cognitive aging experiment.</li></ul>What is involved?:<br /><ul><li>Ten testers will be asked to rate the degree of relatedness of twenty words to a specified theme using a scale from 1 to 5.
  2. 2. Ten testers will go through the entire experiment to ensure that the experimental conditions measure the variables they are supposed to measure.
  3. 3. These testers will determine whether the written test produces the hypothesized results.
  4. 4. The experiment will involve a 3 minute presentation of 40 words and a 15-20 minute written test after the computerized trials.
  5. 5. If interested in pilot testing, please contact Felicia Oropeza at 916-616-9672Or email her at feoropeza@gmail.comI will compensate the participants for their time with a $5.00 giftcard from Starbucks. </li></ul>Pilot Testing (916) 616-9672Pilot Testing (916) 616-9672Pilot Testing (916) 616-9672Pilot Testing (916) 616-9672Pilot Testing (916) 616-9672Pilot Testing (916) 616-9672Pilot Testing (916) 616-9672Pilot Testing (916) 616-9672Pilot Testing (916) 616-9672Pilot Testing (916) 616-9672Pilot Testing (916) 616-9672<br />Figure 6. Graph of Hypothesized Interaction of Thematic Relation with Presentation Condition<br />BlueSubliminal PresentationRedSupraliminal Presentation<br />Performance<br />High<br />Low<br />ThematicNon-thematic<br />Thematic Relatedness Condition<br />Figure 7.Drafted Preliminary Letters for Recruitment<br />Email to Nancy Anzelmo M Sc.G.- December 19th 2009<br />Hello,<br />I was a recent student in your care management gero 103 class at CSUS. I am doing a research study (my graduate thesis) on aging memory in the psychology department.  I would like to set up an appointment with you to discuss different options as to where I can recruit participants for my experiment, how I would best approach different agencies to put up flyers, and whether you may know of any contacts in the local area that I can be referred to for assistance with recruiting a subject pool.  I need to recruit 84 older adults ages 65+.  I have approximately 20 from family and friends.  Would you be able to meet with me after the holidays and if so, when would be a good time to meet? I will be unavailable from December 30th to January 7th but I can meet anytime after that. <br />Email to Linda- December 25th 2009<br />Hello,<br />I am a computer tutor at Ethel Hart Senior Center working with Anne bimonthly. I am doing a research study (my graduate thesis) on aging memory in the psychology department.  I would like to set up an appointment with you to discuss different options as to where I can recruit participants for my experiment, how I would best approach different agencies to put up flyers, and whether you may know of any contacts in the local area that I can be referred to for assistance with recruiting a subject pool. I need to recruit 84 older adults ages 65+.  I have approximately 20 from family and friends.  Would you be able to meet with me after the holidays and if so, when would be a good time to meet? I will be out of town from December 30th to January 7th but I can meet anytime after that. <br />Email to Bob Pierre-December 25th 2009<br />Hello,<br />I am a close friend of Louisa Vessell. I attend Medical History Museum seminars pretty regularly. I am doing a Masters thesis on aging memory in the psychology department at CSUS. I would like to set up an appointment with you to discuss recruitment of subjects and see whether you may know of any people who may be interested in participating in such a study. I will be attending the next Medical History Museum meeting in January but I would like to meet with you earlier in January if possible. I am going to be out of town until the 7th of January so please email me times you are available. <br />Email to Darryl Morrison – December 25th 2009<br />Hello, <br />I am conducting a graduate thesis study on aging memory for graduation fall 2010. I would like to discuss with you recruitment options such as the best approach for distributing flyers within the club or within the California book club network and whether you know of any contacts in the local area that I can be referred to for assistance with recruiting a large aging subject pool. I need to recruit 84 older adults ages 65+. I have approximately 20 subjects so far from family and friends. Would you be able to meet with me early during the January meeting to discuss recruitment possibilities? I would be able to meet at 6pm. Thank you very much. <br />Figure 8. Brief Description of Project to Senior Service Organizations<br />I am a graduate student in Psychology at California State University, Sacramento. For my Master’s thesis, I am conducting research on memory in older adults. During the summer of 2010, I want to recruit fifty participants who are age 55 or older without any unusual memory impairment to participate in my research.<br /> <br /> The participants will first be given a ten minute telephone interview assessing their cognitive status. The interview questions are not personal and present few risks. The participants will later be asked to sit in front of a monitor and will be presented with a series of forty words flashed for either .2 seconds or 2 seconds on the computer screen. The time lapse between each word will be 1 second. At the end of the experiment, participants will be given a 40 question memory test where they will check “Yes” or “No” to indicate whether they remember a word as being from the series of flashed words. I would be glad to demonstrate the computer task to you if you wish to see it.<br /> This individual testing should take about 15 minutes to complete. To protect the privacy of participants, I will use codes rather than names to identify each participant, and only group results will be reported. The research might lead to a better understanding of memory in older adults. Research sessions will be scheduled at a place and time that is convenient for participants. I will compensate each participant for their time with a $5.00 gift card to Walmart.<br />I would like to hand out or post flyers to recruit participants from your organization, consistent with any policies you have. This would begin after I receive approval from the human subjects committee in the Psychology department. An approximate starting date is mid-June of 2010. Please call me if you have any questions or need more information. If I have your permission to recruit participants from your organization, please print this letter on your company’s letterhead, add the name of your organization and your signature in the space below, and return the letter to me, preferably by May 10th 2010.<br />Thank you for your time and consideration,<br />Felicia Oropeza<br />(916)616-9672<br /><br />I give my permission for Felicia Oropeza to recruit participants for her research from (insert name of organization) ______________________________.<br />Signed: ______________________________<br />Date: ________________<br />Comment Page<br />To make my experiment more manageable, I have limited the number of independent variables in my experiment. Notably, I will not include the independent variable, visualization ability, in my research study because it shows to be a potentially confusing variable for the analysis of memory processes. Additionally, I will expand the age group from individuals 65 years and older to individuals 55 years and older. Also, I changed the methodology used to analyze deep vs. shallow levels of processing where instead of using antonyms/synonyms, vs. rhyming/non-rhyming words, I am using thematic and non-thematically related words. By doing this, I removed many confounding variables of prior exposure to the presented word lists which could have had undesirable influences on the explicit memory test results. I changed the recognition test to a paper and pencil test to accommodate the needs of the aging population. I also shortened the word lists used during the testing conditions to not overload the older participants’ memory capacity. Finally, I have reduced the number of participants from 84 to 50 because there are less variables and no between-subject variables.<br />Further, I will ask the participants to rate the thematically relatedness of the words presented in the deep levels of processing condition on a 1 to 5 scale. I will also ask the participants to rate the non-relatedness of the words presented in the shallow levels of processing condition on a 1 to 5 scale. The score of 1 will indicate an unsuccessful pairing and 5 will indicate a successful pairing. I will give them more words than I intend to use assuming that they will give some words low scores. Additionally, once the programming for the computerized trials is completed, I will pretest my entire project using 10-20 individuals outside of the target age group. Their performance will help me assess whether the programmed experimental trials are successful, and whether the timing for subliminal/supraliminal presentation does indeed produce a reliable difference in test scores. <br />The literature on subliminal advertising and aging memory showed no clearly defined subliminal/supraliminal threshold for word stimuli presentation. However, research agrees upon a common measuring rubric of 1 millisecond for subliminal perception. Due to software constraints, I was unable to replicate 1 millisecond with my tachistoscope. I made a judgment call after examining how the computer handles subliminally presented stimuli and finally decided .5 seconds for subliminal presentation and 5 seconds for supraliminal presentation. Additionally, literature on working memory capacity and aging reveals that older adults can process 15 visually presented words without pause in one sitting. Aware of the aging working memory storage capacity limitations and the need to make my experiment somewhat challenging for the participants, I decided to create twenty item word lists for both thematic and non thematic relatedness conditions. I also decided to create a 1 second time lapse between each word presentation. <br />I added the inter-rater questionnaire for the thematic relatedness word conditions to the proposal. I also included the 40 word recognition test in the proposal and a graph of the proposed interaction. I added the word lists for the non-thematic and thematic relatedness conditions. I amended the flyers for both the pilot study and the recruitment of participants. Finally, I included the description letter that I will be faxing/emailing and sending via mail to the various organizations that have given their tentative approval. <br />I had a little trouble making the DVD. I managed to download two viruses while searching for freeware tachitoscopes and screen captures. However, I successfully prevailed by finding the Windows Live Movie Maker add-on for Windows 7 Home Premium. That program allowed me to create a tachitoscope and create a video which I burned to the DVD using Windows DVD Maker. <br />