Age differences in brain activity during perceptual versus reflective attention

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This functional magnetic resonance imaging study presented participants with a face and scene simultaneously on each trial, and assessed the impact of perceptual versus reflective selective attention on activity in parahippocampal place area. Young and older adults showed equivalent activation in parahippocampal place area when cued to attend to the scene when the stimuli were perceptually present and when cued to refresh (briefly think about) the scene after the stimuli were no longer present. The groups also showed equivalent deactivation when cued to attend to the face when the stimuli were perceptually present. However, older adults showed less deactivation than young adults when cued to refresh the face, providing evidence for greater age-related disruption of reflective than perceptual selective attention.

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