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Eriko Self, Sam Handelman, Alexander Le, Moire Sigler; Changes in Visual Attention with Normal Aging. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):787. doi: 10.1167/16.12.787.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Performance of various cognitive tasks is known to decline with normal aging. The goal of this study was to assess possible changes in selective attention due to aging in a visual search task. Each trial began with a fixation cross presented for 900 ms, followed by a cue word (red, green, blue, or yellow) for 800 ms, and a second fixation cross (750 ms). Then the search screen was presented consisting of 8 hollow circles aligned in a circular configuration, each containing a grey line in either vertical or horizontal orientation. The target circle was displayed in the color indicated by the cue word, whereas the distractor circle was displayed in one of the remaining three colors. The other six circles were grey. The task was to report the orientation of the line inside the target circle by pressing one of two buttons. The cue word was displayed either in the target color (matching), the distractor color (mismatching), or grey (neutral). The line orientation inside the target was either the same as that inside the distractor (congruent) or different (incongruent). The search screen was displayed until the participant responded. The participants were younger adults (ages 18-27, n = 37) and older adults (ages 65-74, n = 31). A linear mixed model was used to predict RT from age group, target-distractor congruency, and cue color type. As expected, older adults showed longer RT than younger adults. There was no significant difference between congruent and incongruent conditions, indicating both groups showed successful endogenous attentional control. There was a significant effect of cue type on RT, suggesting that attention was influenced by the font color just like Stroop task. Interestingly, older adults showed no significant difference between the neutral and mismatching cue conditions. This potentially shows weaker interference in older adults.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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