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The goal of the current study was to examine age differences in visual information load and visual STM for two types of items, abstract and meaningful, as well as determine the impact of item type and information load on age-related reductions in STM. Two experiments tested the hypotheses that age differences are greater in visual search and visual short-term memory for abstract items, and that information load may not fully explain age differences in visual STM. Age differences in visual search were greater for abstract than meaningful items, but older adults showed equivalent age-related reductions in visual STM for the two classes. Information load was a better predictor of visual STM capacity than item type when we compared the two classes.