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Event-related potentials dissociate perceptual from response-related age effects in visual search

Wiegand, I. and Finke, K. and Muller, Hermann J. and Tollner, T. (2013) Event-related potentials dissociate perceptual from response-related age effects in visual search. Neurobiology of Aging 34 (3), pp. 973-985. ISSN 0197-4580.

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Attentional decline plays a major role in cognitive changes with aging. However, which specific aspects of attention contribute to this decline is as yet little understood. To identify the contributions of various potential sources of age decrements in visual search, we combined response time measures with lateralized event-related potentials of younger and older adults performing a compound-search task, in which the target-defining dimension of a pop-out target (color/shape) and the response-critical target feature (vertical/horizontal stripes) varied independently across trials. Slower responses in older participants were associated with age differences in all analyzed event-related potentials from perception to response, indicating that behavioral slowing originates from multiple stages within the information-processing stream. Furthermore, analyses of carry-over effects from one trial to the next revealed repetition facilitation of the target-defining dimension and of the motor response—originating from preattentive perceptual and motor execution stages, respectively—to be independent of age. Critically, we demonstrated specific age deficits on intermediate processing stages when intertrial changes required more executively controlled processes, such as flexible stimulus-response (re-)mapping across trials.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Aging, Executive control, Visual search, Visual attention, Priming, Visual short-term memory, N2-posterior-contralateral, Contralateral-delay-activity, Lateralized-readiness-potential
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2012 08:57
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:24

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