December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
Aging Effects on Multiple Object Tracking: Distractor Inhibition
Author Affiliations
  • Bill V. Bui
    Wichita State University
  • Rui Ni
    Wichita State University
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 3072. doi:
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      Bill V. Bui, Rui Ni; Aging Effects on Multiple Object Tracking: Distractor Inhibition. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):3072.

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

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In everyday life, visual attention is used to efficiently filter distracting stimuli and track relevant moving objects. Literature has shown that multiple object tracking (MOT) efficiency decreases with age (Sekuler et al., 2008; Trick et al., 2005; Trick et al., 2009), but what specific factors cause this decrease in tracking ability? There is compelling evidence that points to a decline in inhibition in older adults in domains such as language comprehension (Connelly et al., 1991) and object-based attention Inhibition of Return tasks (McCrae & Abrams, 2001). The aim of this present study is to investigate the role of inhibition in this age‐related decline in MOT performance. 20 younger adults (18–33 years) and 20 older adults (60–73 years) performed a dot-probe detection task and a conventional MOT task developed by Pylyshyn (Pylyshyn, 2006). In this task, participants tracked the targets while ignoring the distractors, which moved dynamically across the screen. During the task, a red probe appeared on either the background, a distractor, or a target. After identifying the tracked objects, participants responded to a 2AFC question whether they saw the probe or not. A 2-way mixed ANOVA was conducted on the within-subject variable of probe location (target, background, and distractor) and the between-subject variable of age (older and younger adults) on probe detection accuracy rate. Our results revealed no interaction effect between probe location and age on probe detection rates, indicating a lack of inhibitory decline in tracking ability. However, there was a general decrease in probe detection among older adults for all three locations. Our results suggest that the decline in MOT tracking among older adults is not due to inhibition of distractors per se. Instead, the decreased probe detection accuracy at different locations indicated an overall attentional deficit among older adults.


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