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James B. Maciokas, Leedia Svec, Michael A. Crognale; Attentional changes with age: Evidence from attentional blink deficits. Journal of Vision 2002;2(7):4. doi: 10.1167/2.7.4.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose: Increased deficits with age have been well documented in such tasks as cued location, visual search and divided attention. All of these tasks are spatial measures of attention. A well-studied phenomenon the “attentional blink” (AB), a marked deficit in detecting a second target for up to 600ms within a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP), is a temporal measure of attention. As an extension of our previous work, we investigate the AB and its time course with age in a population of elderly subjects with intact executive function.
Methods: A RSVP paradigm was used. The RSVP consisted of two target letters amongst numeric distracters presented at a rate of 100ms per item. Participants were instructed to report the second target and to ignore the first target during single-task conditions. During dual-task conditions participants were to report both targets. Both conditions were counterbalanced for a total of 480 trials. Stimuli subtended 1cm and were viewed binocularly from 57cm.
Results/Conclusion: Significant differences in the magnitude and the time course of the AB were observed with age. Although the older subjects showed the AB effect at short latencies (as did the young subjects), the window of time for the AB effect was expanded for the older subjects, suggesting a prolonged deficit. Greater variability was observed among the older group consistent with previous reports of individual selectivity of aging effects. Results are discussed in the context of cognitive slowing and reduced attentional resources
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