Priming of landmarks during object-location tasks: effects on self-efficacy of older adults

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University of Alabama Libraries

Computer-based training programs are a new way that many personal skills are being developed, maintained, or enhanced. However, in order for a computer-based training program to be effective, users must be highly motivated to complete the required tasks. One way to improve motivation for continuing tasks is through increasing self-efficacy, or a person’s perceived ability in an area. While older adults might greatly benefit from computer-based training programs for memory, low self-efficacy for both memory and computer use can be a barrier to motivation, limiting potential benefits. However, a person’s self-efficacy can be improved by experiencing success in a task. The current study investigated whether priming a landmark could be used to generate such success in an object-location memory task, ultimately enhancing older adults’ self-efficacy. Participants were 62 older adults and 59 younger adults who were shown a series of videos of virtual rooms and had to make memory judgments about where they had seen certain items in those rooms. Half of the participants were primed for spatial landmarks for specific objects in the virtual environment, while half were not. While many previously established effects were replicated, priming of landmarks did not significantly impact memory or self-efficacy. However, exploration of secondary analyses emphasized the importance of improving self-efficacy in older adults for these types of tasks. Specifically, self-efficacy in older adults was lower than younger adults, even after controlling for memory performance. Considerations of the importance of self-efficacy for memory performance and motivation in older adults are explored.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Psychology, Cognitive psychology