Learning To Ignore Distracters

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Eye tracking has indicated that older and young adults process distracters similarly when reading single sentences. The present study extended this approach by presenting short paragraphs, sentence by sentence. Eye tracking measures included reading times per word, and the duration of the first fixation and total fixations to the distracters and target words. Comprehension was tested following each paragraph, and recognition of distracters and target words was assessed. The results indicated that young adults were able to learn to ignore the distracters as they read through the paragraphs, whereas older adults were less successful at learning to ignore the distracters.

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