The effects of age and task context on Stroop task performance.
In this study, we investigated the impact of age and task context on Stroop task performance, using error scores, response latencies, and process dissociation estimates (e.g., Lindsay & Jacoby, 1994). Across three experiments, the findings showed that although older adults were able to evaluate Stroop task demands and modify their representations of task context in response to this knowledge, they were less able to maintain and update these representations on a trial-by-trial basis in tasks with high stimulus uncertainty or ambiguity. Moreover, although there was no age-related decline in the ability to modulate print color information, older adults were consistently less able to control the activation of conflicting word information. Together, these findings suggest that whereas age differences in the Stroop task may be magnified under conditions that promote transient failures to maintain task context, the primary source of these differences seems to be a more enduring decline in the efficiency of processes that are responsible for suppressing the activation of irrelevant lexical information.
Mutter, SA; Naylor, JC; Patterson, ER
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