Age differences in the strategic allocation of visual attention.

TitleAge differences in the strategic allocation of visual attention.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
JournalThe journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences

The allocation of visual spatial attention was investigated in two groups of adults, younger (n = 24; M = 19 yrs) and older (n = 24; M = 68 yrs). Two sequential target displays were presented on a computer screen. If a target letter appeared in Display 1, then observers were to identify a target letter in Display 2. Based on accuracy of Display 1 target detection, the older adults had a more restricted range of visual processing than the younger adults. Based on reaction times for Display 2 target identification, older adults appeared to use a spotlight (serial) scanning mechanism, whereas younger adults appeared to use an activity-distribution (parallel) mechanism. Results are consistent with age-related cognitive slowing, but also suggest a difference in strategy according to the availability of visual information.

Short TitleJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
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