Adult age differences in shifting focused attention.
Young and older adults performed a choice response task in which 1 of 2 target letters was presented visually at 1 of 4 display locations. In 2 experiments, the validity of a target location cue and the presence of nontarget characters (distractors) were varied. With target-only displays and 40% cue validity (Experiment 1), the estimated time to shift attention between display locations was essentially 0 ms for both age groups. With 70% cue validity, Experiment 2 demonstrated significant increases in the attention shift time as a function of both increased age and the presence of distractors (asterisks). The results suggest that age-related changes in the shifting of focused attention are minimal except when the processing of nontarget information is required.
Madden, DJ; Connelly, SL; Pierce, TW
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