In the current project we investigate whether drawing can be used as encoding tool to enhance episodic memory performance of elderly people.

The pronounced decline in episodic memory during healthy aging can be explained by age-related decreasing abilities to build and remember associations (i.e., associative memory). Recent research revealed that drawing is an efficient encoding tool to enhance memory performance for single items in younger and older adults. However, the impact of drawing on associative memory remains to be investigated. Hence, we aim to extend existing evidence to associative memory and thus investigate whether drawing as an encoding tool can reduce age-related deficits in associative memory. In two age groups (younger vs. older), we test the effect of drawing as an encoding tool on recognition memory performance for items and for associations of items. We expect an overall positive effect of drawing on memory performance with the largest benefit for associative memory in elderly people. This project provides insight on the mechanistic underpinnings of methods to improve episodic memory in aging people.

Presentation at conference

Ovalle-Fresa, R., & Martarelli, C. S. (2021). Drawing as an encoding tool to enhance item and associative memory: distinctive benefits in younger and older adults. 63rd TeaP - Conference of Experimental Psychologists.

Project duration

01.02.2020 - 31.12.2022


Dr Rebecca Ovalle
Dr Rebecca Ovalle Post-doc research associate
Prof. Dr Corinna Martarelli
Prof. Dr Corinna Martarelli Associate professor