October 2020
Volume 20, Issue 11
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   October 2020
Aging affects attentional window and perception in the periphery
Author Affiliations
  • Julie Ouerfelli-Ethier
    University of Montreal
    ImpAct, INSERM UM1028, CNRS UMR 5292, University Claude Bernard Lyon 1
  • Noemie Redureau
    University of Montreal
  • Laure Pisella
    ImpAct, INSERM UM1028, CNRS UMR 5292, University Claude Bernard Lyon 1
  • Aarlenne Z. Khan
    University of Montreal
Journal of Vision October 2020, Vol.20, 298. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.298
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      Julie Ouerfelli-Ethier, Noemie Redureau, Laure Pisella, Aarlenne Z. Khan; Aging affects attentional window and perception in the periphery. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):298. https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.298.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Aging has been associated with decline in perceptual and cognitive functions, but the findings remain inconclusive. Here we tested how attentional window, i.e. how widely we can distribute our attention around a certain fixation location when searching for an item among distractors, changes with aging. Specifically, we investigated whether aging resulted in a decrease in attentional window during easy or parallel visual search (global processing). We also tested whether performance in visual search was related to perceptual visual function with a contrast detection task and two motion tasks (local and global motion perception) at two different eccentricities (5° and 10° eccentricity). We measured the size of the attentional window using different sized gaze-contingent visible windows in 12 younger adults and 11 older adults during a pop-out visual search task. Older adults showed a significantly smaller attentional window (M = 19.4°, SD = 3.3°) compared to younger adults (M = 23.1°, SD = 2.3°). They also had significantly higher contrast detection thresholds (M older = 9.3%, SD older = 5.1%; M younger = 4.9%, SD younger = 3.1%) and needed longer presentation times to estimate global motion (M older = 442.8 ms, SD older = 221.2 ms; M younger = 177.8 ms, SD younger = 70.4 ms). In contrast, we found no difference in local motion perception thresholds between groups. Taken together, our results suggest that both attentional and perceptual deficits may explain impaired visual function in older adults.


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