Louise A. Brown Nicholls

Louise A. Brown Nicholls
University of Strathclyde · School of Psychological Sciences and Health

PhD in Psychology

About

45
Publications
9,412
Reads
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758
Citations
Citations since 2017
31 Research Items
602 Citations
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Introduction
My research focuses upon cognition and the psychology of ageing. My research on cognition primarily addresses short-term ("working") memory and attention mechanisms in young and older adults, with particular emphasis on processing and retaining visual and spatial information. I am also interested in the impacts of emotion on cognition, and in healthy ageing.
Additional affiliations
December 2018 - present
University of Strathclyde
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
April 2014 - November 2018
University of Strathclyde
Position
  • Fellow
May 2011 - March 2014
Nottingham Trent University
Position
  • Lecturer
Education
September 2011 - May 2012
Nottingham Trent University
Field of study
  • Education
October 2003 - May 2007
Glasgow Caledonian University
Field of study
  • Psychology - Cognitive Ageing
September 2001 - September 2002
University of Stirling
Field of study
  • Psychological Research Methods

Publications

Publications (45)
Article
Full-text available
Visual working memory (WM) was investigated in young (18-35 yrs) and older (63-88 yrs) adults by assessing use of visual and verbal processing, and strategic approach. Experiment 1 comprised a visual interference paradigm, to investigate visual rehearsal during an abstract visual WM task. Results suggested both groups used a visual strategy, but ol...
Article
Full-text available
Higher trait anxiety can impair cognitive functioning via attention, but relatively little is known about the impacts on visual working memory. These were investigated using previously validated visual feature binding tasks. In Study 1, participants’ memory for visual features (shapes) and feature bindings (coloured shapes) was assessed. Stimulus p...
Article
Full-text available
Visual working memory for features and bindings is susceptible to age-related decline. Two experiments were used to examine whether older adults are able to strategically prioritise more valuable information in working memory and whether this could reduce age-related impairments. Younger (18-33 years) and older (60-90 years) adults were presented w...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: Development of a vaccine against COVID-19 will be key to controlling the pandemic. We need to understand the barriers and facilitators to receiving a future COVID-19 vaccine so that we can provide recommendations for the design of interventions aimed at maximizing public acceptance. Design: Cross-sectional UK survey with older adults...
Article
Background: Intergenerational engagement could benefit health and wellbeing within an ageing population. This systematic review evaluated the impacts of intergenerational engagement on cognitive, social, and health outcomes in healthy older adults and older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Research Design and Methods: Comprehensive literature...
Preprint
Full-text available
Purpose: We tested whether the association between autistic traits and enhanced performance in visual-perceptual tasks extends to visual working memory capacity. We predicted that any positive effect of autistic traits on visual working memory performance would be greatest during tasks in which visual resources must be relied upon more exclusively....
Article
Full-text available
We sought to establish whether two recently developed measures, the 5C scale and the Vaccination Attitudes Examination (VAX) were reliable and valid for use with older adults. A total of 372 UK-dwelling participants (65–92 years, M = 70.5 years, SD = 4.6) completed a cross-sectional survey measuring health and socio-demographic characteristics in r...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background. Age-related changes to motor speech performance are only partially explained by physiological changes in the speech system. This systematic review gathered evidence on the potential role of cognitive abilities. Method. The protocol was pre-registered on PROSPERO (CRD42021235159). PsychInfo, PubMED, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Libra...
Article
Full-text available
Background The rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines has brought an unprecedented focus on public attitudes to vaccines, with intention to accept a COVID-19 vaccine fluctuating during the pandemic. However, it is unclear how the pandemic may influence attitudes and behaviour in relation to vaccines in general. The aim of the current study is to ex...
Article
Full-text available
The present aim was to determine, across the adult lifespan, the extent to which different dimensions of trait anxiety might affect subjective cognitive difficulties in everyday life. Following Attentional Control Theory (ACT; Eysenck et al., 2007 ), we predicted that trait anxiety would have a greater effect on attention and verbal abilities than...
Preprint
Full-text available
Older adults are particularly vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases (VDU), due to decreased immunity and increased comorbidity. Vaccination can support healthy ageing and help reduce morbidity, mortality, and loss of quality of life associated with VPDs. Despite the availability of effective vaccines, many countries, including the UK, fail to...
Article
Full-text available
Influenza, pneumococcal disease, and shingles (herpes zoster) are more prevalent in older people. These illnesses are preventable via vaccination, but uptake is low and decreasing. Little research has focused on understanding the psychosocial reasons behind older adults’ hesitancy towards different vaccines. A cross-sectional survey with 372 UK-bas...
Poster
Full-text available
Intergenerational engagement activities that promote older people’s health and wellbeing can provide a means to promote social participation and healthy ageing. However, high-quality evidence on the effectiveness of intergenerational engagement is still limited. ‘Generation for Generation’ was a moderate-intensity, intergenerational engagement inte...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Promoting older adults’ health and wellbeing via intergenerational engagement can help with the needs of an ageing population. This systematic review evaluated the impacts of intergenerational engagement on cognitive, social, and health outcomes in healthy older adults and older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Research Design and...
Article
Full-text available
Influenza, pneumococcal disease, and shingles are more prevalent in older people, with this group having an increased risk of developing severe illnesses and complications. These illnesses are preventable via vaccination, but uptake of these vaccines is low and decreasing year-on-year. However, little research has focused on understanding the reaso...
Poster
Full-text available
Influenza, pneumococcal disease, and shingles are more prevalent in older people, with this group having an increased risk of developing severe illnesses and complications. These illnesses are preventable via vaccination, but uptake of these vaccines is low and decreasing year-on-year. However, little research has focused on understanding the reaso...
Preprint
Full-text available
Influenza, pneumococcal disease, and shingles (herpes zoster) are more prevalent in older people. These illnesses are preventable via vaccination, but uptake is low and decreasing. Little research has focused on understanding the psychosocial reasons behind older adults’ hesitancy towards different vaccines. A cross-sectional survey with 372 UK-bas...
Conference Paper
Young (18-33 yrs) and older (60-90 yrs) adults’ ability to retain visual feature bindings in working memory was assessed, as was the extent to which memory could be enhanced using strategic prioritisation. The task involved sequentially presenting three coloured shapes, followed by a test probe in the form of an individual colour or shape, and part...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objectives: Development of a vaccine against COVID-19 will be key to controlling the pandemic. We need to understand the barriers and facilitators to receiving a future COVID-19 vaccine so that we can provide recommendations for the design of interventions aimed at maximising vaccine uptake by the public. Design: Cross-sectional survey with high-ri...
Conference Paper
Generation for Generation is a moderate-intensity, intergenerational engagement intervention designed to promote cognitive, health and social function in older adults. Volunteers assisted primary school teachers in the classroom by helping pupils aged 4-8 with reading, writing and numeracy tasks. They were asked to commit eight hours per week for s...
Conference Paper
Intergenerational engagement activities that promote older people's health and wellbeing can constitute a means of responding to the needs of a growing ageing population. This systematic review evaluated the impacts of intergenerational engagement on cognitive, social and health outcomes in older adults. Systematic literature searches were undertak...
Conference Paper
Anxiety symptoms are suggested to occupy cognitive resources, diminishing top-down attentional control and increasing automatic capture by external irrelevant stimuli. Meanwhile, binding of sequentially presented visual information in working memory is differentially affected by these attention processes, resulting in fluctuating primacy/recency re...
Article
Full-text available
Dementia has been declared a Global Challenge [1]. However, strategies to tackle it are far from global. Epidemiological forecasts are more alarming for low and middle-income countries (LMIC) than for high-income countries (HIC), and yet provisions to support the former are scarce and, in some cases, as we discuss below, impractical. New initiative...
Conference Paper
There is debate regarding whether or not working memory for bound visual objects is more age-sensitive than that for individual visual features. To investigate this potential ‘age-related binding deficit’, we administered a visual recognition task to young and healthy older adults. In experiment 1, coloured shapes were sequentially presented, eithe...
Conference Paper
Anxiety is associated with deficits of attentional control. Specifically, volitional, top-down control over attention is diminished at the expense of heightened perceptually-driven, bottom-up attentional capture. The contribution of these attentional processes to visual working memory performance has increasingly been assessed via feature binding p...
Article
Full-text available
Visual working memory exhibits age effects that are amongst the largest observed in the cognitive aging literature. In this research we investigated whether or not older adults can benefit from visual symmetry and semantic availability, as young adults typically do. Visual matrix pattern tasks varied in terms of the perceptual factor of symmetry (E...
Conference Paper
In two experiments, visual working memory capacity was assessed in younger (18-35 years) and older (63-88 years) adults, using the modified Visual Patterns Test. In Experiment 1, the more abstract task version was used, along with a visual interference (dynamic visual noise) paradigm. Overall, when the interference condition had been carried out fi...
Article
Full-text available
In this study we examined electrophysiological indices of episodic remembering whilst participants recalled novel shapes, with and without semantic content, within a visual working memory paradigm. The components of interest were the parietal episodic (PE; 400-800ms) and late posterior negativity (LPN; 500-900ms), as these have previously been iden...
Article
Full-text available
Three experiments investigated younger (18–25 yrs) and older (70–88 yrs) adults’ temporary memory for colour–shape combinations (binding). We focused upon estimating the magnitude of the binding cost for each age group across encoding time (Experiment 1; 900/1500 ms), presentation format (Experiment 2; simultaneous/sequential), and interference (Ex...
Article
Full-text available
Working memory is vulnerable to age-related decline, but there is debate regarding the age-sensitivity of different forms of spatial-sequential working memory task, depending on their passive or active nature. The functional architecture of spatial working memory was therefore explored in younger (18-40 years) and older (64-85 years) adults, using...
Conference Paper
In two experiments, visual working memory capacity was assessed in younger (18-35 years) and older (63-88 years) adults, using the modified Visual Patterns Test (VPT; Brown, McConnell, & Forbes, 2006). In Experiment 1, the more abstract task version was used, along with a visual interference (dynamic visual noise) paradigm. Overall, when the interf...
Article
Full-text available
Multiple methods exist for measuring how age influences the rate of visual information processing. The most advanced methods model the processing dynamics in a task in order to estimate processing rates independently of other factors that might be influenced by age, such as overall performance level and the time at which processing onsets. However,...
Article
Full-text available
Prospective Memory (PM) research focuses on how the cognitive system successfully encodes and retains an intention, before retrieving it at a particular future time or in response to a particular future event. Previous work using 2D text stimuli has shown that increasing the saliency of the retrieval cue can improve performance. In this work, we in...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter examines the question of how the features or elements (e.g. shape, color, or spatial location) of a stimulus that is encountered in the visual environment are bound together in working memory to form an integrated representation. We first briefly review recent research on this topic in healthy young adults, examining the factors that d...
Article
Full-text available
Visual working memory is enhanced by processes related to verbalisation. However, the mechanism underlying this enhancement is unclear. Experiment 1 investigated the potential contribution of the phonological loop of working memory, by assessing the effects of articulatory suppression on two versions of the Visual Patterns Testone low and one high...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies have reported that increasing glycaemia by a glucose-containing drink enhances memory functioning. The aim of the present study was to extend this literature by examining the effects of glucose on episodic memory as well as attention processes, and to investigate associated event-related potential (ERP) markers. Fifteen minutes aft...
Article
Three experiments investigated the impact of working memory load on online plan adjustment during a test of multitasking in young, nonexpert, adult participants. Multitasking was assessed using the Edinburgh Virtual Errands Test (EVET). Participants were asked to memorize either good or poor plans for performing multiple errands and were assessed b...
Article
Full-text available
BACKGROUND/STUDY CONTEXT: Visual working memory (VWM) has been shown to be particularly age sensitive. Determining which measures share variance with this cognitive ability in older adults may help to elucidate the key factors underlying the effects of aging. Predictors of VWM (measured by a modified Visual Patterns Test) were investigated in a sub...
Article
Full-text available
Two experiments were conducted to assess the costs of attentional load during a feature (colour-shape) binding task in younger and older adults. Experiment 1 showed that a demanding backwards counting task, which draws upon central executive/general attentional resources, reduced binding to a greater extent than individual feature memory, but the e...
Article
Full-text available
This review concerns a number of substances that have been receiving much attention, particularly in the media, for their potential to protect against age-related cognitive decline, and a focus is placed upon recent findings. Omega-3 fatty acids appear to play important roles in preserving neuronal structure and function and minimizing cognitive de...
Article
Full-text available
The aims of the study were to assess the availability of verbal coding and its effect on performance in a standard visual matrix task, the Visual Patterns Test (VPT). In a pilot study, participants were presented with the patterns from the VPT and were asked to name the shapes within them. Availability of verbal codes was low overall; however, some...

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Projects

Projects (8)
Project
We are interested in establishing the facilitators and barriers of vaccination uptake in older people.
Project
We are interested in the potential impacts of trait anxiety on attention and visual working memory performance, particularly feature binding.