Adult age differences in the use of distractor homogeneity during visual search.
Previous research has suggested that an age-related decline may exist in the ability to inhibit distracting information during visual search. The present experiments used a conjunction search task in which the within-item features of the target (an upright L) and the distractors (rotated Ls) were identical. In each of 2 experiments, both young and older adults searched the display significantly more rapidly when the distractors were all rotated in the same direction (homogeneous) than when the distractors were rotated in different directions (heterogeneous). The concept of a generalized, age-related slowing was able to account for many aspects of the data, although the degree of relative improvement associated with distractor homogeneity was greater for young adults than for older adults.
Madden, DJ; Pierce, TW; Allen, PA
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