Adult age differences in visual search accuracy: attentional guidance and target detectability.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Previous research, relying primarily on reaction time measures of highly accurate performance, suggests that both younger and older adults can increase the efficiency of visual search by guiding attention to a candidate subset of items. The authors investigated attentional guidance when accuracy was well below ceiling to focus more specifically on the role of perceptual processes. In the most difficult condition (conjunction search), the likelihood of missing a target was greater for older adults than for younger adults, and this effect was not attributable entirely to generalized slowing. Both age groups were able to improve search efficiency by attending to a distinct subset of display items, indicating that attentional guidance to perceptual features does not exhibit age-related decline. A signal-detection model of the conjunction search data demonstrated that the age difference represented an age-related decline in target detectability.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Madden, DJ; Gottlob, LR; Allen, PA

Published Date

  • December 1999

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 14 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 683 - 694

PubMed ID

  • 10632154

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0882-7974

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037//0882-7974.14.4.683


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States