Overriding age differences in attentional capture with top-down processing.
Two experiments investigated the influence of top-down information on adult age differences in the ability to search for singleton targets using spatial cues. In Experiment 1, both younger and older adults were equally able to use target-related top-down information (target feature predictability) to avoid attentional capture by uninformative (25% valid) cues. However, during informative (75% valid) cue conditions, older adults demonstrated less efficient use of this cue-related top-down information. The authors extended these findings in Experiment 2 using cues that were either consistent or inconsistent with top-down feature settings. Results from this second experiment showed that although older adults were capable of avoiding attentional capture when provided with top-down information related to target features, capture effects for older adults were notably larger than those of younger adults when only bottom-up information was available. The authors suggest that older adults' ability to use top-down information during search to avoid or attend to cues may be resource-limited.
Whiting, WL; Madden, DJ; Babcock, KJ
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