The decrease in processing resources with aging has been related to the so-called cognitive primitives, i.e. working memory, inhibition, and processing speed, which can be considered as variables that influence the cognitive system (e.g., Verhaeghen, et al. 2003). These general constructs have, indeed, become a central feature in explaining age-related differences in older adults in many cognitive domains.
In the case of working memory, intended as the amount of cognitive resources available to store information while at the same time processing incoming or recently accessed information for use in other cognitive tasks (Baddeley, 1986), a large number of studies have clearly shown a poorer working memory performance in older adults in comparison to younger adults (e.g., De Beni and Palladino, 2004