Subjects wanted for memory loss study

Joanne Persson
Joanne Persson

A St Andrews University psychology student, who has been awarded a grant for a major research programme into the relationship between attention and memory in the older generation, is on the lookout for volunteers to help with her study.

Joanne Persson, a PhD student in the School of Psychology, has received the prestigious British Psychological Society’s Conference Bursary to attend the annual Social Psychology Section conference to be hosted by the town’s university from August 21-23.


Her research was inspired by previous studies which have shown much of the negative perceptions about ageing concern memory loss in later life and she is now seeking participants aged between 60-75 years to participate in an experiment run across two sessions.

The first involves completing three memory tasks - each taking approximately five minutes - where participants will have to remember a list of words, 12 personality traits, and a series of pictures. The second is an attention task that will ask those taking part to identify whether a flash appears on the top or bottom half of a computer monitor.

The first part of this study takes approximately 45 minutes to complete, and the second lasts 2.5 hours. Those who take part will be reimbursed £17.50 for their time, plus any relevant travel expenses.

Miss Persson is hoping to present the results from the study at the forthcoming conference, if she can find at least another 25 people willing to take part.

She told the Citizen:“This is an opportunity for anyone keen to contribute to this increasingly important area of research in our ageing society. Current estimates suggest that the number of older people in Scotland should increase by 58 per cent by 2031 to 1.31 million.”


Previous research has indicated that views of ageing are primarily negative. However, most research has been carried out in the USA or Canada, with very few studies on such perceptions in the UK. This means there is very limited understanding of how old age is perceived within Britain, she added.

n The ongoing research could help to develop our knowledge of the ageing process in the UK, and to understand people’s experiences of growing older in Scotland. Anyone willing to take part should contact Joanne by email at or telephone 01334 461989.