Time Course of Allocation of Visual Attention After Equating for Sensory Differences: An Age-Related Perspective

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Adult age differences in the time course of the allocation of visual attention were investigated, in 2 experiments that both included the same 10 younger adults (M= 22 years) and 10 older adults (M= 68 years). In Experiment 1, older adults accumulated information about target identity at a slower rate than younger adults, as represented by the rise in accuracy as a function of target duration. To equate performance in a baseline condition in a spatial-cuing paradigm (Experiment 2),target duration was set for each observer on the basis of the data in Experiment 1. Performance for the 2 age groups was comparable, both in the baseline condition and in the time course of attention, as indexed by the function relating accuracy to cue–target onset asynchrony. The authors conclude that, in this spatial-cuing paradigm, an age-related change is evident in sensory processing but not in attentional allocation.

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