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Eleanor F. Swan, Claire V. Hutchinson, Mark Everard, Steven S. Shimozaki; Aging effects in cueing tasks as assessed by the ideal observer: Peripheral cues. Journal of Vision 2015;15(2):5. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/15.2.5.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous aging and cueing studies suggest that automatic orienting driven by peripheral cues is preserved with aging; however, inconsistencies can be found. One issue might be the use of response times (RT) to assess cueing effects (invalid RT − valid RT), which, in many cases, may not have clear quantitative predictions. We propose an ideal observer (IO) analysis of accuracy estimating participants' internal value of cue validity, or weight, which should equal the actual cue validity. The weight measures the use of information provided by the cue and is insensitive to variations in set size and difficulty, thus potentially providing advantages to RT. Older (n = 54) and younger (n = 58) participants performed a yes/no detection task of a two-dimensional (2-D) Gaussian (60 ms). Square peripheral precues (150 ms) indicated likely target locations (70% valid) across two or six locations (set sizes). For cueing effects, (valid − invalid hit rates), younger participants had set-size effects (larger cueing effects for set size 6), while older participants did not. The opposite pattern was found for weights (younger: no set-size effects, older: set-size effects) due to the IO predicting larger cueing effects for larger set sizes. Comparisons to the ideal weight (cue validity) suggested that older participants used the cue information effectively with set size 2 (as or more so than younger participants), but not with set size 6. These results suggest that attentional deficits from aging in peripheral cueing tasks may only arise as difficulty increases, such as larger set sizes.
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