Title

Attentional and Perceptual Contributions to the Identification of Extrafoveal Stimuli: Adult Age Comparisons

Document Type

Article

Department

Psychology (Scripps)

Publication Date

1991

Disciplines

Cognition and Perception | Cognitive Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

Gerontological researchers have been cautioned that conclusions about age differences in attention may have been inferred from data that, in fact, reflected age differences in perceptual processing of stimuli falling outside the fovea (Cerella, 1985). Presumably, the experimental manipulations on which cerella based his caution induced a broad focus of attention so that changes in perceptual processing would not be confounded with changes in attention. Experiment I tested this by comparing a condition similar to Cerella's with another in which attention was narrowly focused at fixation. The results replicated Cerella's findings. In addition, there were greater age differences when attention had been narrowly focused, showing that attentional effects can be separated from the effects reported by Cerella. Experiment 2 showed that age differences in extrafoveal perception could be removed by increasing the duration of the target from 200 to 2000 ms, suggesting that the perceptual deficits in older adults are due to differentially lengthened processing of stimuli outside the fovea.

Rights Information

© 1991 Gerontological Society of America

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